Talkin’ bout a Revolution

This is one of the songs that I listened again and again in my youth. Written and sung by Tracy Chapman in 1988, for her first album entitled with her name.

Tracy is not just a wonderful singer and songwriter, but a political and social activist, and continue taking part in many events of this kind. The lyrics of her song, Talkin’ bout a Revolution, are below, and it’s worth to read or listen it.

Bruges, 2009 – image taken by Hans Hillewaert

Talking about a revolution. Well, some years ago, words like revolution, class war or marxism seemed taboo, anyone using them in Europe and, of course, in USA, was branded as a radical.

Nowdays, thankful to the scam-crisis, this has changed, at least in the plundered part of Europe where I live. Here, it’s usual to talk openly about this matter. It isn’t needed to have read Das Kapital to be aware that there are exploiters and exploited, or to know that there is a class war. It’s easy to see it, when daily rulers do laws to steal money from citizens and give that money to banksters, when it’s totally clear that governments rule for the financial power and don’t give a shit the rest of people.

Here is the video with Tracy’s song, performed at an Amnesty International concert in 1988, and below the lyrics. Listen it, even if revolution is a taboo word for you yet, it’s a great song.

Talkin’ bout a Revolution

image from the album Tracy Chapman
 

Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know, they’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Don’t you know, you better run, run, run…
Oh, I said you better run, run, run…

Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ ’bout a revolution, oh no
Talkin’ ’bout a revolution, oh no
It sounds like a whisper

And finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ about a revolution, oh no
Talkin’ about a revolution, oh no

           

The second Tracy’s song in her fist album was Fast Car, this one talks about poverty. As poverty is an inevitable consequence of the actually existing capitalism (far from the idealized capitalism that never existed and never will exist), then to bring awareness to the poverty is a way of talking about revolution as well.

And, again, a great song.

Fast Car

You got a fast car
And I want a ticket to go anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won’t have to drive too far
Just ‘cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

You see my old man’s got a problem
He live with the bottle that’s the way it is
He says his body’s too old for working
I say his body’s too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody’s got to take care of him
So I quit school and that’s what I did

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way

I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain’t got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You’ll find work and I’ll get promoted
We’ll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs

You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I’d always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain’t going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way

           

To finish this post, I won’t put more songs but some excerpts from her lyrics, once more showing her activism:

 Across the Lines

Across the lines
Who would dare to go
Under the bridge
Over the tracks
That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides
Or run for your life
Tonight the riots begin
On back streets of America
They kill the dream of America

Behind the Wall

North Sea Jazz, 2006 – image by jan_48

Last night I heard the screaming
Loud voices behind the wall
Another sleepless night for me
It won’t do no good to call
The police
Always come late
If they come at all

And when they arrive
They say they can’t interfere
With domestic affairs
Between a man and his wife
And as they walk out the door
The tears well up in her eyes

Mountains o’ Things

The life I’ve always wanted
I guess I’ll never have
I’ll be working for somebody else
Until I’m in my grave
I’ll be dreaming of a life of ease
And mountains
Oh mountains o’ things

To have a expensive car
Drag my furs on the ground
And have a maid that I can tell
To bring me anything
Everyone will look at me with envy and with greed
I’ll revel in their attention
And mountains
Oh mountains o’ things

Why?

Why do the babies starve
When there’s enough food to feed the world
Why when there’s so many of us
Are there people still alone

Why are the missiles called peace keepers
When they’re aimed to kill
Why is a woman still not safe
When she’s in her home

           

Of course, she has songs with the usual lyrics about love and lovers as well, is any singer without that kind of songs? But I prefer her politic and social activism. I’m an incorrigible radical, I guess. And, for those who have read until here: yes, I did read Das Kapital.

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