Boom! – System of a Down

How are money and war connected?

At a time where war is very much a reality and part of the daily experiences of millions of people in different parts of the world, the song Boom! is a reminder that no justice comes from it. Boom! is a song from the American-Armenian metal/rock band System of a Down, (or SOAD), and was released in 2002 as part of the album Steal This Album!, during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S.

SOAD is undoubtedly a band with profound values of social justice and strong political messages reflected on their songs and lyrical choices. In 1998, P.L.U.C.K., which is still one of their most politically critical songs and was dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide that exterminated 1.5 million Armenians, set ground for other tracks like Boom!.

Similarly to P.L.U.C.K., Boom! is also a protest song against war. Its lyrics reflect on the fact that great amounts of money and resources are spent in weaponry and bombs, when it could and should, instead, be spent on helping people who are starving or ill – “4000 hungry children die per hour/ From starvation/ While billions spent on bombs/ Create death showers.”

It is also a critic to the over materialization that dominates modern society and that ‘blinds’ everyone with extreme consumption and promises of richness.  For instance, the verse “I’ve been walking through your streets/ Where all you money’s earning/Where all your building’s crying” refers to the way money drives society and turns people into slaves of the big corporate enterprises where they desperately work to earn more and more money. “And clueless neckties working/ Revolving fake lawn houses/ Housing all your fears” is meant to draw attention to the meaningless jobs that many people have without knowing why, simply to fill the inside void and insecurities with material things, like fancy houses in the suburbs.

Additionally, Boom! highlights the role of the advertisement industry in desensitizing people – “Desensitized by TV/ Overbearing advertising/ God of consumerism/ And all your crooked pictures/ Looking good, mirrorism.” The media is also the target of critics in this protest song and is portrayed as a powerful tool in influencing the masses to turn a blind eye to wars in the name of money – “Filtering information/ For the public eye/ Designed for profiteering.”

The lyrics also make reference to the connection of corporate globalization with military actions by remarking how industries profit from wars – “Modern globalization/ Coupled with condemnations/ Unnecessary death,” and condemn how patriotism is used to brainwash populations and turn soldiers into pawns – “Matador corporations/ Puppeting your frustrations/ With the blinded flag.” But worse of all, all of the above happens with the acceptance of the people who prefer not to care in order to sustain their lives of ‘wealth slavery’ – “Manufacturing consent/ Is the name of the game/ The bottom line is money/ Nobody gives a fuck”.

The music video was made in collaboration with Michael Moore, an American award documentary filmmaker, author of the controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11 which presents a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush and the War on Terror. The video also includes footage from the anti-war protest of 2003 with interviews with the participants.

Ultimately, Boom! is a song that makes us wonder about the agenda of those who finance endless wars, and the useless aftermath that conflicts bring when money is removed from the equation.

Lyrics:

I’ve been walking through your streets,
Where all you money’s earning,
Where all your building’s crying,
And clueless neckties working,
Revolving fake lawn houses,
Housing all your fears,
Desensitized by TV,
overbearing advertising,
God of consumerism,
And all your crooked pictures,
Looking good, mirrorism,
Filtering information,
For the public eye,
Designed for profiteering,
Your neighboor, what a guy.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM,
Every time you drop the bomb,
You kill the god your child has born.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

Modern globalization,
Coupled with condemnations,
Unnecessary death,
Matador corporations,
Puppeting your frustrations,
With the blinded flag,
Manufacturing consent
Is the name of the game,
The bottom line is money,
Nobody gives a fuck.
4000 hungry children leave us per hour
from starvation,
while billions spent on bombs,
creating death showers.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM,
Every time you drop the bomb,
You kill the god your child has born.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM
BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM

Why, why, why, why must we kill, kill, kill, kill, our own, own, own, own kind…

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM,
Every time you drop the bomb,
You kill the god your child has born.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM
BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM/BOOM
Every time you drop the bomb.

Boom! – System of a Down
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Sounds from the Bucket
Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
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