I have not been paying much attention to the 9/11 anniversary reports on TV or in the papers. I recall the day well enough and media hype and repetition is not interesting to me. I had expected to treat the day as many others.
But, this Saturday morning (9/10), I grab for a CD to listen to in the car and my subconscious does its work. I grab emo band Thursday's "War All the Time" CD, originally released in September 2003 after both the 9/11 attacks and the starts of the Aghan and Iraq wars.
Now, it has been publicly detailed by the band that this CD is not about 9/11. However, once released, music gets interpreted by the listener. The song "War All the Time" was quickly viewed as a commentary on the attacks and the subsequent wars. I know that was my reaction when I bought the CD. And, listening to it today, the emotions of 9/11 really came back:
It is clear that the early part is about young kids dealing with more personal tragedies such as an older brother's death and suicides. The lyric about parking in a car in a garage and listening "to the lullaby of carbon monoxide" is quite vivid. I see this as giving people a perspective that all sorts of tragedies impact people all the time. Everyone is at war with things every day.
Where this resonates as about 9/11 is the repetition in the chorus about the New York skyline and ashes of America flags falling. This becomes more specific when we get lyrics such as "we used to be very tall buildings but we've been falling for so long." Knowing that people jumped from the towers and then the towers eventually fell in what felt like slow motion, it is hard to avoid thinking of 9/11. However, the best part of the song is when the imagery of falling pieces of American flags gets reversed into a hope:
when the pieces fall it's like a last-day parade
and the fires in our streets start to rage
so wave to those people who long to wave back
from the fabric of a flag that sang
love all of the time.
When I hear this song, the idea of people waving to each other longing for love is a sublime outcome that most would and should seek for all people everywhere. This theme of unity and reaching out to heal is a natural reaction to the 9/11 attacks.
We must be realists.
Another song that I viscerally associate with 9/11 is Laibach's "B Mashina" from thw "WAT" album, also released in September 2003. Laibach's track is actually a cover version of a song by fellow Slovenian band Siddharta. The original is written before the 9/11 attacks but as is typical of Laibach, they deconstruct the song and write new lyrics to be delivered in spoken word fashion.
only one day
we are leaving the others
we're going away
Today we all steal
animals we are
possession is lost
Our souls are from the wild
and wings to reach the sky
let the sun fall into the ocean,
let the earth erupt in flame
It is enough to have the strength
to raise our dream machines
into the sky
Let them sleep who do not know
the final day is here
the very last
and we leave at dawn
There is no force no money and no power
To stop us now and change our fate
Now every problem is destroyed
We raise our hands and bodies to the peak
Into the Universe - towards the stars we go
Machines we are sending to the skies
Above us all
And leave behind those who don't know
Of the final day
We leave in sleep those who don't know
and we leave at dawn
We are driven by the B-machine
That never stops.