Sometimes a song does something that makes it stand out from the rest of your listening habits and makes you stop to actively listen. Something about the lyrics and what the artist is trying to say seems to be worth your time and seems to be trying to make a serious comment about the lives we lead.
One of the best songs that I’ve ever heard at this is the 2007 offering from Nabihah Iqbal (formerly known as Throwing Shades), entitled Zone 1 to 6000.
Inspired by the poem London by William Blake, this is a stunning commentary on the problems and trappings that modern life can have on people as they try to live a life while still fitting to social convention. Across the track, Iqbal creates a dark outlook on the world and modern life as creates the metaphor of the rat race of everyday life having to be what people expect.
The lyrics at the heart of this song are incredibly powerful listening as the listener of the song is forced to investigate their own compliance with the trappings of modern life. Nabihah paints the disheartening picture of how ambitious people having to put aside their hopes and dreams to conform to making money to survive.
“The same old tale repeats itself
9-5 year on year
Thoughts and hopes left on the shelf
Escape on Friday
Get caught on Monday
Escape on Friday
Get caught on Monday”
There was something extremely poignant about this words when I heard them first. All of us can remember a time when there are things that we have wanted to do, such as go travelling or be creative in at our passion or live our lives, and yet the demand of our responsibilities and money have meant that we have stayed stuck in the flow that routine demands. Iqbal seems to be saying that modern living is suffocating the individualism and creativity out of people and leading to a more automated and predictable lifestyle.
The song also looks at how social conventions and fashions can have a damaging effect on the individualism of a society as we try to fit in to what we think is expected of us. Another sign of the oppressive nature of the modern world.
“Who to be and how to be and what to wear and who to know and where to go and do you care and follow me I’ll take you there
Who to be and how to be and what to wear and who to know and where to go and do you care and follow me I’ll take you there
Follow me I’ll take you there”
Songs like this will never go out of fashion, as artists continue to try and use their platform to raise awareness and make sense of the world that we are surrounded by.