Politics in Rock: U2 and Rush

u2 war album cover
1983.  One of the most political rock albums of all time.  And, thank God.

I want to thank Bryan, Craig, and Nick for such a civilized discussion regarding politics and art.  I also want to thank the many commentators who joined in.

I only have a personal, autobiographical, inward-looking comment.  I grew up in an extremely anti-war, pro-Catholic, libertarian household.  I’m deeply thankful to my mom, my aunts, my maternal grandmother, and the Dominican nuns for teaching me that EVERY SINGLE HUMAN LIFE (regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, skin tone, etc.) matters.

Life is precious, and the good life is even more so.

The Catholic Church has its flaws to be sure, but it also has its great strengths.  One of its greatest strengths is its fight–whatever its practice–for the dignity of all humans.

This said, during the early and mid-80s, nothing gave me more fighting strength to promote what needed to be promoted than U2’s album WAR and Rush’s album GRACE UNDER PRESSURE.

With these two examples, I realized fully the power of art.  These albums not only honed my thoughts, but they also–equally importantly–properly channelled my anger, the anger that probably ever teenager feels.

3 thoughts on “Politics in Rock: U2 and Rush

  1. As juvenile as it might sound, I have to give a resounding “f*ck yes!” to this post. I love both these groups. But it was U2 that were the defining, flag bearing group for socio-political music, especially in a time when polished, escapist pop ruled the airwaves. One of the biggest similarities between U2 and RUSH is that they’ve always been inherently “uncool” and didn’t give a damn, wore their hearts on their sleeves and championed ideas and topics in song that few other groups would dare attempt. I think U2 more blatantly did that. It makes for more revolutionary music, lyric wise. In the film Rattle & Hum, bassist Adam Clayton said something like, and I paraphrase: “some people think that you shouldn’t mix music and politics…I think that’s bullshit.” For me, it makes U2 all the more inspiring (and easier to forget some of their missteps lol).



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