Monday, January 14, 2013

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (Melle Mel)

The Message & White Lines

It's hard to describe how I felt when I first heard these two songs. They were just so different from anything else that was on the radio at that time. Full of violent, gritty lyrics, totally unfamiliar words, vehemence and even sarcasm. I was just a little feller, but I was very aware that the person behind the song was expressing something that really mattered. These were songs of warning, suffering and pain. Not imagined, acted out, or spoken about on behalf of others (like most conventional protest songs). The lyrics were beyond personal, but much too specific to be universal. They were direct and purposely targeted -- heat-seeking missiles, smart bombs. It was clear that this communication was coming straight from the source, from someone who was living it. The realization that songs could deliver that kind of information made a very strong impression on me.