Looking at it now, 11 years to the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the al-Qaeda-led terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, it's still difficult to underestimate how much the world changed that day. The realm of popular music is no different, and to this day the events of 9/11 are fertile grounds for songwriters.
Last year Rocks Off looked at some of the better-known songs about 9/11, good and bad. People are still reading that post, even today. Especially today. So we decided to take a closer look at a few more songs about the event, suggested by some of the commenters on the original post. We already had to hear Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" on KILT this morning, so this time we only took the good ones and left out crap like Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten."
Life is too damn short.
Neil Young, "Let's Roll": Told from the perspective of the patriot/passengers of United Flight 93, who took over the plane and averted what many people believe was an attack on the White House. Released on Young's 2002 album Are You Passionate?, it's textbook late Neil: Gruff, grungy and direct.
Testament, "The Evil Has Landed": The Bay Area thrash warlords bulloze their way through Ground Zero with some striking, vivid imagery: "The sky began to fall/ Ripping open a path up to heaven/ Time slowed to a crawl/ Early morning September eleven"
My Chemical Romance, "Skylines and Turnstiles": Supposedly 9/11 inspired My Chemical Romance leader Gerard Way, then an aspiring comic-book artist living with his parents, to start a band. "Skylines and Turnstiles," from the New Jersey emo-rockers' 2002 album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love -- which clocks in at barely 20 minutes long -- uses unspeakable tragedy as a way to bring people together, something MCR has been specializing in ever since.
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Kimya Dawson, "Anthrax": Even after the shock of the attacks, the creeping dread that the world had changed for the worse (much worse) set in when biological weapons started showing up in the mail of major NYC buildings, including government offices and several TV networks. This ragged, off-key tune from the Moldy Peaches founder's 2004 album Hidden Vagenda takes a small kernel of hope in the knowledge that at least she's safe: "Then we turned on CNN/ Watched the Towers fall again/ And realized our lives aren't so bad." That's cold comfort, though, because a little later she sings, "don't take anything for granted/ If you do, the world will kick your ass."
Living Colour, "Flying": One of the best most underrated rock bands of the last 25 years, Living Colour is actually still aliving and kicking (thank God), most recently releasing 2009's The Chair In the Doorway. This song from 2003's Collideøscope is a jazzy, smooth (but not smooth-jazz) ballad narrated by someone on one of the WTC-bound planes: "I jumped out the window to get to the parking lot/ I'm writing this little song on my way down." Minus Vernon Reid's signature electric-guitar squiggles, the melodious chords and singer Corey Glover's supple tone both serve as a reminder of how gorgeous the weather was that day, and make the grotesque lyrics that much more unsettling.