The other day while watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics, I saw an advertisment for Nike that used a song from a band I listened to a couple years ago and liked.
You may know the ad and the song I'm talking about. It's the one showing athletes in action with the song saying how it's not where you're from but where you're going, not that you get knocked down but how quick you get up. You can see the ad by clicking HERE.
Anyway, that song in the ad is called "Ali in The Jungle" by a band called The Hours. The title of the refers to a miracle comeback by Muhammad Ali against George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle" bout in 1974. More broadly, the theme of the song is a compelling call for you to be resilient, never give up despite the odds and to make the very most out of whatever situation you find yourself in. The lyrics use examples of people like Ali, Helen Keller, British footballer Tony Adams, and even Beethoven who all overcame some major obstacle in life to achieve something big.
Hearing the song again for the first time in a year to two, I instantly went to my iPod and played both albums by The Hours (Narcissus Road and See The Light) and enjoyed thoroughly. Many of their songs take on topics you don't hear too often in today's music scene.
Not all music needs to be serious or carry a profound message. I get that. Hell, I like some pop tunes too. But, I also extra appreciate a band that has a meaningful message and delivers it well because I think that these days, music is perhaps the one way that people will actually listen to new or different ideas.
An example of how The Hours deliver on this, take their song "Love Is An Action." It is indeed a love song, but unlike 99% of love songs that deliver some form of the message "I love you baby," The Hours lay out simply just what love really is with lines like:
We'll stand side-by-side until the day we die.
All we need is trust and trust is all we have.
Love is an action. It's something you do. Talk is cheap man. It means nothing at all.
That's right. The song urges you to see love as an action - something that you do for your loved one, family and friends. Those actions are based on trust. These are the meaningful elements of love. They are what will last and mean the most. Actions expresses true love more than any words you might be able to string together and spit out. To my mind, the song is a call to show love through actions rather than falling back on just saying things about love.
As another example of taking on topics not usually heard in songs, "These Days" is unusual for its call for a better sense of community since we're all in this world together. You don't hear too much of that in today's music scene obsessed with bling, "the dace floor," getting it on and simply rocking out. Here are a few lines...
If there's ever a time we need to come together
The time is now when everything is falling apart
It's no rehearsal, soon we'll be gone forever
These days are all we have
These days are all we have and I'm gonna take you with me...
This song calls it out like it is. Look, we're only on this earth so long. All we have are the days left to us on the planet. What are we going to do with them? Lets try and do the best by ourselves and each other in the time we have.
And, The Hours have a sense of humor too with bits like these lines from their song "Love You More"...
I love you more than Caravaggio
I love you more than all of my hooded tops
I love you more than Tony Soprano
For those who do not know me thats a f*#k of a lot
Anyway, check out The Hours. If you like thoughtful lyrics and compelling, driving music, I think you'll like them. The band gets extra points from me as two of the members - Anthony Genn and Martin Slattery - were previously members of Joe Stummer & The Mescaleros before Joe sadly died of a heart ailment in 2002.