Teen Angst

I don’t live in London, so I’m not in a position to understand the context of the London Riots like those in the thick of things can. Like many though, I’m watching and thinking about why they happened now, what caused them, how they are similar or different from other recent (and future) ‘uprisings’ of youth, and what they mean in the larger scheme of things.

Sometimes you can’t capture a reason with words alone, and maybe there is no reasonable or tangible explanation for what is happening. But a few songs come to mind that do a good job of conveying that feeling of (sometimes pointless) teen angst…. I imagine many other songs could be added. (Send links and lyrics and I’ll grow the playlist….)

Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols, 1976

“I am an anti-christ
I am an anarchist
Don’t know what I want but
I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passer by cos I

I wanna BE anarchy!

Anarchy for the U.K it’s coming sometime and maybe

I give a wrong time stop a traffic line
your future dream is a shopping scheme

cos I, I wanna BE anarchy!
In the city

How many ways to get what you want
I use the best I use the rest
I use the enemy
I use anarchy cos I wanna be anarchy.”

London Calling by the Clash, 1977

“London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don’t look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
‘Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing”

Teenage Riot by Sonic Youth, 1988

“It better work out

I hope it works out my way
‘Cause it’s getting kind of quiet in my city’s head
Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now”

Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, 1991

“With the lights out

It’s less dangerous

Here we are now

Entertain us”

Geezers Need Excitement by the Streets, 2002

“Geezerz need excitement
If their lives don’t provide them this they incite violence
Common sense simple common sense
Geezerz need excitement
if their lives don’t provide them this they incite violence
Common sense simple common sense”

World Town by M.I.A. 2007

“Yo dont be calling me desperate
When i’m knocking on the door
Every wall you build i’ll knock it down to the floor
See me see me bubbling quietly
See me see me acting like you ain’t met me
See me see me bubbling quietly
See me see me acting like you ain’t met me

Hands up
Guns out
Represent the world town”

Killing in the Name by Rage against the Machine, 1993

“Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

UPDATES AND ADDITIONS:

We’re not gonna Take It by Twisted Sister, 1984 (suggested by @talesfromthhood)

“We’re not gonna take it

No, we’re not gonna take it

We’re not gonna take it anymore”

Fight for your Right to Party by the Beastie Boys, 1986 (suggested by @talesfromthhood)

“You gotta fight for your right to party”

Party for your Right to Fight by Public Enemy, 1988

“Power, equality
And we’re out to get it
I know some of you ain’t wid it
This party started right in ’66
With a pro-Black radical mix
Then at the hour of twelve
Some force cut the power
And emerged from hell
It was your so called government
That made this occur
Like the grafted devils they were”

I Predict a Riot by Kaiser Chiefs, 2004 (suggested by @catg89)

“I predict a riot, I predict a riot

I predict a riot, I predict a riot

I tried to get to my taxi

A man in a tracksuit attacked me

He said that he saw it before me

Wants to get things a bit gory

Girls scrabble around with no clothes on

To borrow a pound for a condom

If it wasn’t for chip fat, they’d be frozen

They’re not very sensible”

Panic by the Smiths, 1986 (suggested by @ithorpe)

“Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again ?
The Leeds side-streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself
Hopes may rise on the Grasmere
But Honey Pie, you’re not safe here
So you run down
To the safety of the town
But there’s Panic on the streets of Carlisle
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
I wonder to myself

Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE”

White Man in Hammersmith Palais by the Clash, 1977 (suggested by @paulclammer)

“White youth, black youth

Better find another solution

Why not phone up Robin Hood

and ask him for some wealth distribution.”

April 26, 1992 by Sublime, 1996 (suggested by @michaelkbusch)

“April 26th, 1992,
there was a riot on the streets,
tell me where were you?
You were sittin’ home watchin’ your TV,
while I was paticipatin’ in some anarchy.

First spot we hit it was my liqour store.
I finally got all that alcohol I can’t afford.
With red lights flashin’ time to retire,
And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire.

Next stop we hit it was the music shop,
It only took one brick to make that window drop.
Finally we got our own p.a.
Where do you think I got this guitar that you’re hearing today?
Hey!

Never doin no time

When we returned to the pad to unload everything,
It dawned on me that I need new home furnishings.
So once again we filled the van until it was full,
since that day my livin’ room’s been more comfortable.

Cause everybody in the hood has had it up to here,
It’s getting harder and harder and harder each and every year.

Some kids went in a store with their mother,
I saw her when she came out she was gettin some pampers.

They said it was for the black man,
they said it was for the mexican,
and not for the white man.

But if you look at the streets it wasn’t about Rodney King,
It’s bout this fucked up situation and these fucked up police.
It’s about coming up and staying on top
and screamin’ 187 on a mother fuckin’ cop.”

Burning down the House by the Talking Heads, 1983 (suggested by @viewfromthecave)

“Watch out, you might get what you’re after

Cool babies, strange but not a stranger

I’m an ordinary guy

Burning down the house”

Baba O Riley by the Who, 1971 (suggested by @viewfromthecave)

“Don’t cry
Don’t raise your eye
It’s only teenage wasteland…

(they’re all wasted!)”

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Bauhuas, 1982 (suggested by @meowtree)

“All we ever wanted was everything

All we ever got was cold.

Get up, eat jelly, sandwich bars and barbed wire

Squash every week into a day.

The sound of the drum is calling

The sound of the drum has called

Flash of youth shoot out of darkness

Factory town”

Fire in the Booth by Akala, 2005 (suggested by @telamigo)

“One too many man you know get cut up
One too many man that could’ve been doctors
End up spending their whole life boxed up
You learn, if you study
Its all set out just to make them money
No cover, it’s all about getting poor people to fight with one another
So its logical that us killing our brothers,
Dissin’ our mothers
Is right in line with the dominant philosophy of our time
But time is a cycle, not a line
Comes back around you regain your mind
You be ready for the energy I channel in my rhymes
Remedy the pedigree, the jeopardy of mine
When the world’s this f***ed up, lethargy’s a crime
We can all fight with our brothers over crumbs,
Far harder to fight the one who makes guns
We can all talk sh** and get two dollars
Far harder to be the one who seeks knowledge
If we understood economics
We’d know money’s nothin’
Think nothing of it…”
.
Jungle by Professor Green ft Maverick Sabre, 2010 (suggested by @telamigo)
.
“I see no point in living life that right, so I just take what I can find
I see no point in living life that right, when you’re out here in this jungle
It’s wild round ‘ere, you don’t wanna spend a night round ‘ere
When you’re out here in this jungle, ain’t nothing nice round ‘ere
trouble’s what you find round ‘ere….
It’s blitz amidst the strife here
got kids with sticks and knives here
It’s hype here, we know no different prick
It’s just life here
Life from young the way we know from what we’re shown
Stacked trapped in flats where our front doors don’t face the road
God CID spinning round in cars
Shifting criminals at large
it’s hard not to think the bits are just a bing without the bars….”
.
21st Century Breakdown by Green Day, 2009 (suggested by @mforstater)
.
“… My generation is zero
I never made it
As a working class hero
21st Century Breakdown
I once was lost but never was found
I think I am losing
What’s left of my mind
To the 20th century deadline”
.
Enter Shikari by Juggernauts, 2009 (suggested by @mforstater)
.
.

“…Now don’t get me wrong I love what you done with the place
I just wish we had a chance to help build it
Instead of just moving into this home of disrepair
And expect it to work, prosper and then share
Constantly relying on consuming to feel content
But only because we lost touch with this home that we’ve spent
Trillions of dollars tainting for our wants and not our needs
And now we’re growing tired of planting bleary-eyed seeds

….. And I know that we’ve still got time
But I do not think we’re invincible
And I’m thinking that its a sign
Deep breaths, clentched fists,
Here comes another jug-ger-naut!

The idea of community
Will be something displayed in a museum”

.

Teenage Angst by Placebo, 1996  (suggested by @manucartoons)
“Since I was born I started to decay.
Now nothing ever ever goes my wayOne fluid gesture, like stepping back in time.
Trapped in amber, petrified.
And still not satisfiedAirs and social graces, elocution so divine.
I’ll stick to my needle, and my favourite waste of time,
both spineless and sublime.”Since I was born I started to decay.
Now nothing ever – ever goes my way.
.
Invincible by Pat Benetar, 1985 (suggested by Leila)
.
.
“This shattered dream you cannot justify.
We’re gonna scream until we’re satisfied.
What are we running for ? We’ve got the right to be angry.
What are we running for when there’s nowhere we can run to anymore ?
We can’t afford to be innocent
stand up and face the enemy.
It’s a do or die situation – we will be invincible.
And with the power of conviction there is no sacrifice.
It’s a do or die situation – we will be invincible.Won’t anybody help us ?
What are we running for when there’s nowhere”.

Violent Crimein by Mayhem N.O.D.B., 2008 (suggested by Harle)

(couldn’t find any lyrics for it….)

About Shotgun Shack

INGO worker hailing from the crossroads of America, and so far from home in so many ways. I blog about life and the depths and ironies of INGO work. View all posts by Shotgun Shack

12 responses to “Teen Angst

  • J.

    Beautiful.

    Just don’t forget to include

    – “We’re not gonna take it” (Twisted Sister)
    – “Fight for your right to party” (Beastie Boys)

    to what has the makings of an outstanding deployment soundrack!

  • Emma Redfern (@rememberthegoat)

    I especially like the last one, even I can remember the lyrics to that.

  • Carol Jean Gallo

    Great post! And last night when I was listening to commentators on the BBC, I kept thinking to myself– “Do none of these people remember what it felt like to be a teenager?” Add social inequality, neglect, and a bad economic situation, and that hormonal rage is made that much more intense.

  • I.

    How about Panic by the Smiths:
    Panic on the streets of London
    Panic on the streets of Birmingham
    I wonder to myself
    Could life ever be sane again ?
    The Leeds side-streets that you slip down
    I wonder to myself
    Hopes may rise on the Grasmere
    But Honey Pie, you’re not safe here
    So you run down
    To the safety of the town
    But there’s Panic on the streets of Carlisle
    Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
    I wonder to myself

    Burn down the disco
    Hang the blessed DJ
    Because the music that they constantly play
    IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE

  • Tom Murphy (@viewfromthecave)

    Nicely done SS. I quite enjoy your music listings. If I can suggest a few:

    Burning Down the House – Talking Heads
    Babba O’Reilly – The Who
    Welcome to Paradise – Green Day
    A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan (a bit of a stretch, but seems appropriate)

    Finally, I would be remiss not to point out that some super angsty teen music by the likes of Bright Eyes and Dashboard Confessional. You could pick anything from those acts or other similar musicians who make their career to the tune of teen angst.

  • Maya Forstater

    Can i add a couple?
    Greenday (2009) 21st Century Breakdown

    … My generation is zero
    I never made it
    As a working class hero
    21st Century Breakdown
    I once was lost but never was found
    I think I am losing
    What’s left of my mind
    To the 20th century deadline

    I was made of poison and blood
    Condemnation is what I understood
    Videogames of the towers fall
    Homeland security
    Could kill us all

    We are the cries of the class of ’13
    Born in the era of humility
    We are the desperate in the decline
    Raised by the bastards of 1969

    My name is no one
    The long lost son
    Born on the 4th of July
    Raised in the era of heroes and cons
    That left me for dead or alive…

    Enter Shikari (2009) Juggernauts

    …Now don’t get me wrong I love what you done with the place
    I just wish we had a chance to help build it
    Instead of just moving into this home of disrepair
    And expect it to work, prosper and then share
    Constantly relying on consuming to feel content
    But only because we lost touch with this home that we’ve spent
    Trillions of dollars tainting for our wants and not our needs
    And now we’re growing tired of planting bleary-eyed seeds

    ….. And I know that we’ve still got time
    But I do not think we’re invincible
    And I’m thinking that its a sign
    Deep breaths, clentched fists,
    Here comes another jug-ger-naut!

    The idea of community
    Will be something displayed in a museum 

  • Emmanuel Letouzé (@manucartoons)

    Well speaking of teen angst i would also add Placebo’s “Teenage Angst”.

    Shine the headlight, straight into my eyes.
    Like the roadkill, I’m paralysed.
    You see through my disguise

    At the drive-in, double feature,
    pull the lever, break the fever
    and say your last goodbyes.

    Since I was born I started to decay.
    Now nothing ever ever goes my way

    One fluid gesture, like stepping back in time.
    Trapped in amber, petrified.
    And still not satisfied

    Airs and social graces, elocution so divine.
    I’ll stick to my needle, and my favourite waste of time,
    both spineless and sublime.

    Since I was born I started to decay.
    Now nothing ever – ever goes my way.

  • Matt (Aid Thoughts)

    Refuse/Resist by Sepultura:

    Chaos A.D.
    Tanks On The Streets
    Confronting Police
    Bleeding The Plebs
    Raging Crowd
    Burning Cars
    Bloodshed Starts
    Who’ll Be Alive?!

    Chaos A.D.
    Army In Siege
    Total Alarm
    I’m Sick Of This
    Inside The State
    War Is Created
    No Man’s Land
    What Is This Shit?!

    Refuse/resist
    Refuse

    Chaos A.D.
    Disorder Unleashed
    Starting To Burn
    Starting To Lynch
    Silence Means Death
    Stand On Your Feet
    Inner Fear
    Your Worst Enemy

    Also:

    Riot Van – Arctic Monkeys

    For a more romantic take:
    Take me to the riot – Stars

  • Leila

    The Stars — “Take Me to the Riot”

  • Leila

    Pat Benatar — “Invincible”

  • Harle

    In addition to those listed, pretty much the entire collected works of the Clash would fit in here. “London’s Burning” popped into my head spontaneously. Police and Thieves, White Riot, Somebody got Murdered, etc… they all fit.

    Still, the Clash and most of the other songs here are all pretty dated. Does anyone have some insight into what the rioters are really listening to?

    Maybe something like this — Mayhem N.O.D.B – Violent Crimein

    • Shotgun Shack

      Totally agree and thanks for commenting. I think with the songs I came up with initially, I was trying to bridge today and yesterday. To come up with songs maybe older people listened to back in the day and could relate to, to remind people what teenage years feel like, and how those are universal feelings of alienation and frustration for many of us, and those moments of violence, don’t necessarily have an articulated purpose to them. More of a general feeling.

      @telamigo put up a couple (Fire in the Booth and Jungle – see within the post) that are possibly more like what the rioters are listening to. I honestly don’t know and would love to find out, as it might give some insight.

      Then again, a lot of the most disenfranchised youth I’ve known don’t listen to music that talks about troubles or carries political messages. They listen to bubblegum pop or happy music or dance music.

      I think the songs in the end probably have more to do with my own/our own reading of what the riots are/should be about, and we probably all read our own values and experiences into our interpretation of what the youth are feeling and thinking, or what we think they should be feeling and thinking….

      I’ll add Mayhem to the post. I kinda like it.

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