No Need To Argue
1994 | Rock
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“It's the same old theme, since nineteen-sixteen, in your head, in your head, they're still fighting."
- The song hit #18 on Billboards Top 40 chart,#32 on the Mainstream Rock chart, #1 on the Alternative chart & #22 on Radio Songs. It hit #13 on the Digital Songs chart as well as #5 on the Hot Rock chart again in 2018 after Delores' passing.
- Zombie is a protest song, written about the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, and in memory of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry.
- Former manager Alan Kovac stated that Island Records urged them not to release the song as a single, and that O'Riordan had ripped up a $1 million check they offered her to work on another song.
THE HOT TAKES
Learned something new today: This song is about the conflict in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles." To me, this song really sings about trauma from conflict. The listing of horrific implements of mass murder, "With their tanks, and their bombs, and their bombs, and their guns," suggests to me that these are thoughts that cannot be banished. It's a point we hit over and over in this program, and I'm sure we will be back to revisit war many times again. But it really is the most critical thing. If you support wars, we have a fundamental disconnect, you and I.
This song is clearly about the Irish ethno-political conflict that raged for almost 30 years, but I think it speaks to many situations around the world. To me the zombies could be interpreted as two different kinds of people. First, there are the zombies who fight the wars that were their parents. Generations pulled into fighting the battles of their ancestors. The conflict, suffering, and pain compounding year after year. Second, there are the folks who just don’t give a damn unless it directly affects their lives. I think of how many people I have talked to about the atrocities going on in Yemen and America’s support for the Saudis, who we are helping to train and equip to commit them, and they just don’t care because it doesn’t affect their lives. I can much more easily excuse people who have grown up in an atmosphere of conflict, getting involved in it, than I can a bunch of people who don’t care what their government is doing around the world as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them.
I know that the song is about a very specific event but it strikes me as perennial when we look at the toll of political violence. I'm always taken aback when I think about how recent in history it has been that Ireland was dealing with such turmoil. I guess every war that isn't one America is waging feels anachronistic. The most horrible thing to take away from this song is best summed up by Doug Stanhope. Nationalistic pride and tradition are just someone else's baggage. The founders of America at least paid lip service to the idea that we should stay out of foreign entanglements. We no longer pretend. The end result of that is always murdering people for someone who's cause is not your own.