The 1975’s, Love It If We Made It, commentates the social and political state of the world. The theme throughout the song’s lineage is the discussion of relevant socio-political issues that were prominent in society during the time of the song’s release. And more considerably, the theme of hopelessness and desperation for change.

What’s Going On, by Marvin Gaye was released in 1971 in response to the Vietnam War, and questions the state of the US. During the time of its release, tensions were high due to the US’ controversial involvement in the war. America was a culmination of tragedy and devastation from the war, police brutality against anti war protesters, and long established systematic racism. Marvin Gaye addresses this turmoil with the question, “What’s Going On?”, which gives a sense of hopelessness- as though things have spiraled out beyond control. Gaye pleads for peace with desperation for change. 

R.E.M. ‘s, It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), does not particularly address a specific issue, but similar to, What’s Going On, is a culmination of social and political issues relevant to the song’s release (1987). The song is heavy on references to political displeasement, such as the inadequacies of  the Reagan administration and presence of the Soviet Union, which was the main cause of turmoil and tension in America at the time. Notably, It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), is an exemplar of postmodernism music, which is a reaction to the prevailing ideas that form reality. Michael Stipe achieves this through the song by formatting the lyrics to be delivered almost as a rant. He references all of these political misdoings in quick and short phrases. Whether it be specific people, actions, or ideology, most of the lyrics do not necessarily relate to the ones they are placed next to. Stripe casually slides the deteriorating state of the Earth in between the lines. By strategically mentioning overpopulation, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tectonic plates shifting alongside the political references, R.E.M. critiques the state of the society, and compares the distressed public and political climate to the actual end of the Earth. This is why “And I feel fine” is a short yet significant part of the song. Because if the world(society) were to end (as they knew it), Stripe would sit back and watch it. This message of societal doomsday certainly creates the feeling of hopelessness- so much so that Stripe is beyond the desperation for change. 

Billy Joel’s, We Didn’t Start The Fire, is just like, It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), being that it contains rant-like references to many different people, events, and cultural phenomena that don’t particularly relate to each other in the order at which they are presented in the song. However, they do sum up the socio-political issues of the world to discuss. Society seems to be at the apotheosis of its socio-political conflicts as Joel creates a long list of references that are relevant to the world from 1949 until the song was released in 1989. He names celebrities and entertainers, books and music, war and invasions, national leaders and political figures, drugs and mental illness… basically anyone or anything that had any relevance in media and/or presented itself in society. Though the list has no direction or overt message itself, the chorus, “We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning. Since the worlds been turning,” encapsulates the message that each and every time period will have its social and political tensions. The chorus ends with a silver lining, “But when we are gone, it will still burn on, and on, and on, and on”. The song embraces the anguish and hopelessness of societal conflict.  

This lineage helps me further understand the message and meaning in The 1975’s, Love It If We Made It. Studying other songs that are similar and express despair and desperation towards relevant social and political issues has made me question Healy’s intentions for LIIWMI.