1986 | Rock
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I remember long ago — Ooh when the sun was shining —Yes and the stars were bright —All through the night —And the sound of your laughter —As i held you tight — So long ago.
- The lyrics were written by guitarist Mike Rutherford, this is his second appearance on this list.
- The song's longevity is credited to it's music video which featured charicature puppets of the band members and Ronald & Nancy Reagan and garnered heavy MTV rotation.
- Reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, as well as #11 on the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.
- A cover of this song by Disturbed also became a hit on its own in the 00s.
THE HOT TAKES
From one of the albums that shaped my early taste in music. To say my opinion of this album is biased is a hilarious understatement--truthfully, most of the music I enjoy can be traced back to this album and a very select number of others. Phil sings to us about problems facing the world when the song was released. Armies marching out and causing the deaths of multitudes of people. A dishonest media. "I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right." These lyrics suggest a bitter but necessary stand to correct the injustices outlined at the beginning of the song. Looking at this from 2019, it's easy to see the problems have not improved, but have instead gotten drastically worse. Depravity is all around us, but like so many great songs, the song is still relevant. It could have been written today, and it would still pull at my soul just the same. And of course, the call to heroic action in the chorus bears infiinite repeating: "This is the world we live in, and these are the hands we're given, use them and let's start trying to make it a place worth living in"
This is one of my top five favorite Genesis songs. I feel like it has gotten more and more relevant now than it was in 1986 near the end of the cold war. Land of confusion seems an apt description for the kind of schizophrenia that seems to have gripped the tribal minds of the US political parties. There are “too many men, too many people, making too many problems.” The only thing is, the people that are the major cause of making these problems, are the very ones the masses have put in charge of running things. It makes me feel a bit sad when the song turns to that generation and how they were not making empty promises and were going to make things right. While I sympathize with that sentiment, I feel it’s sad that people continue to look to government and “getting the right guys in office” to fix things. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I look to a time when people recognize that each of us is responsible to build our households and communities into what we want them to be. Freedom starts with the individual, not at the top of a superficial hierarchy.
This video would have been terrifying to watch as a child, I’m glad I was in my thirties when I finally saw it. As terrifying as the caricatures are, the real horror is in how in the time since this song came out we still as a nation haven’t learned our lesson with leadership. The video is a big slap in the face of American worship of our state, looking to politicians and businessmen to make us the society we want to be. No president is Superman, and despite Ayn Rand’s protestations no businesswoman or man is either. They’re simply people with the same foibles and motivations as everyone else. They only way to “fix” things is at the interpersonal level. I like how there is a point in this song about huge global issues, it gets personal and zooms in tight on one relationship. I also like to think the chorus’ are directed at an individual. One of the core misconceptions about libertarians is that we only care about ourselves and while I suppose it’s probably true of some, I truly believe the closer position is that we care about groups the same way collectivists do, we simply acknowledge that we’re not qualified to make decisions for others on either a pragmatic or moral level.