[2015] Dani F.: Saving Humanity One Song at a Time

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[2015] Dani F.: Saving Humanity One Song at a Time

"I'm Radioactive"~If one looks at this lyric from a negative point of view, it seems that the chemicals in the air has made everyone volatile, dying from the inside. From an inspirational point of view, however, each individual is 'radioactive' with rebellious energy, ready to make a change in their society. Each rebel tains others with their revolutionary ideas, amassing an army of insurgents.

"When I get older, I will be stronger. They'll call me freedom just like a waving flag."~Over time, wounds can heal, giving people of all ages new strength and hope. With education, goals, and positive enforcement, all citizens can reach new heights. Just one person can spark a revolution and become a symbol for freedom as universal and powerful as a waving flag.

'Waving Flag' was released in 2010, and was deemed the official theme song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, held in Nigeria. The FIFA World Cup is known as a celebration of unity and individuality of culture, not just of the sport of football. On January 12 of 2010, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti. Approximately 3 million people were affected by the natural disaster, which had caused widespread destruction and left millions homeless.

Saving HumanityOne Song at a Time

Both songs share the message of recovery from disaster, through their juxtaposition of inspirational ideas against somber backgrounds. In 'Waving Flag' inspirational quotes are put against a backdrop of war and poverty, to demonstrate how positive thoughts can raise one into a brighter future. In 'Radioactive' inspirational ideas are disguised as lamentations, to demonstrate how perspective determines whether a situation will have a positive or a negative outcome. Both songs contain themes of political oppression and government corruption, representing how one cannot rely on others to make a positive change, "So many wars, settling scores, bringing us promises, leaving us poor" (Waving Flag). Finally, both songs convey the message of spirituality and hope, describing how, as long as one's determination and hope has not sputtered out, anything can be acheived. "All systems go, sun hasn't died. Deep in my bones, straight from inside, I'm waking up." (Radioactive).

The year 2012 was a time of armed conflict and political upheaval in Syria. Beginning in 2011 with protests against the dictatorial government, the bloody Syrian Civil War continues even today. After those protests were put to a violent stop by government forces, the conflict escalated into a rebellion of military attacks and sieges. The Syrian government, notoriously, attempted to stop the rebels through turning chemical weaponry on its citizens.

Social Context

This song seems to have been written with the intention of being the anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Its lyrics portray imagery that supports the theme of celebration and unity, "In the streets our heads are lifting, as we lose our inhibition. Celebration, it's around us, every nation, all around us." The imagery of celebration, however, is juxtaposed against darker images of poverty and hunger. In between more solemn lyrics, inspirational phrases send a message of encouragement to those in difficult times, "When I get older, I will be stronger, they'll call me freedom, just like a waving flag." Against the backdrop of the earthquake in Haiti, the message of recovery is made even more powerful. This song serves its purpose well: sending an inspirational message relevant to social issues of the day.


RadioactiveImagine Dragons

In my opinion, the writers wrote this song to convey a message of hope to those affected by chemical disasters. In the beginning, the lyrics reek of hopelessness and dismay, depicting an exaggerated version of the consequences of chemical warfare, "I'm waking up to ash and dust. I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust. I'm breathing in, the chemicals." As the song progresses, the lyrics became dual-sensed. In the literal sense, "I'm radioactive" would mean that one's health is compromised by radioactive material in the air. In a more figurative sense, the lyric can mean that each individual is charged with infinite power and possibility. Other lyrics, such as, "I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones, enough to make my systems blow" suggest that, through facing challenges, humans wake up from imminent stagnancy to a life full of excitement. Thus, this song attempts to put a positive spin on the trials and tribulations of chemical warfare, by describing how, through suffering, we become ever more human.


Common Message

Social Context

Waving FlagK'naan & David Bisbal

Music Videos

There was also distress surrounding the meltdown of the Japanese Fukshima nuclear plant. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and tsunami hit the plant, damaging its cooling systems, and causing the meltdown of three reactors. Water was pumped to cool the reactors, but its holding tank was damaged, and the radioactive liquid spilled into the soil. The reactors were leaking radiation into the air around them, making residents 'radioactive' in the worst possible way.


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