1969 | Rock
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“Harold Land with a wave of his hand stood sadly on the stage, clutching red ribbons from a badge, but he didn't look his age. -- Only two years had passed between his leaving home and back; he had lost his love and youth while leading the attack, leading the attack.”
- Yes is the first studio album by the British prog band of same name.
- The debut album was recorded in the spring of 1969 at Advision and Trident Studios in London.
- Bruford named the song after Harold Land, an American tenor saxophonist, but the song's lyrics surround the effects of war on a fictional character.
THE HOT TAKES
A sadness presented in a very Yes way. The heart of a man, utterly crushed by war. He emerges alive, but much older. Home, but without his love. As an adorer of prog rock and Yes in particular, the music itself is extremely satisfying. Imagine going abroad to "fight for freedom" or some other nonsense war propaganda line, only to return home and find your previous life in shambles. What did you get? A stupid badge, and a world just as ruined as the one you left behind. Worse, for you in particular. Reminds me of the old "I did X and all I got was this stupid T-shirt" joke.
This typical groovy Yes song, addresses one of the great disasters of war. The last two verses really express the problem well.
“Harold Land with a wave of his hand stood sadly on the stage, clutching red ribbons from a badge, but he didn't look his age. Only two years had passed between his leaving home and back; he had lost his love and youth while leading the attack, leading the attack.
In conversation it could be said, well after war your heart is dead. well it's not hard to understand, there is no heart in Harold Land.”
Even if one survives the war, the price paid is terribly high. Not only do soldiers live with the memories of the awful things they did and saw, but also the two most precious commodities any person has are stolen from them: time and freedom. You are not free to do as you please when you are in the military, you are ordered and you obey. With the commodity of time you lose doubly, because you lose the time you could have been doing a million other things while you fight, and then you also lose the years it takes off of your life. The last verse also alludes to the long term emotional effects of war on humans. We are not meant to kill each other. Doing so scars us in ways that are hard for those who have not been through it to imagine. This is why war should always be only defensive and as a very last resort. The cost is always much too high to be entered in to as lightly as it is now, If the politicians who are so willing to send our children to die were forced to fight the wars they make, well, I believe there would be a lot more peace on the planet.
One of the most important things we can focus on as libertarians is war. No greater threat to humans exists.That's why we spend such a disproportionate amount of time on it here. This particular song is a great representation of the human toll war inevitably takes. Even when they come back, they don't really come back. I came of age at the same time as the twin towers falling. I watched as many people i knew left for adventure and honor in the desert like the commercials showed. Invariably they came back damaged with drug problems if they came back at all. They made bonds with new adventurers like them and watched as they died or were maimed. This song does a great job at maintaining the sound of hope for adventure amidst some of the saddest vocal harmonies I've ever heard. The song stands as a great tribute to the destruction of youth by the very organization that's supposed to protect them with money robbed from them.