1001 Songs Challenge #1000: Street Livin’ (2018)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Black Eyed Peas – Street Livin’ (2018)
Black Eyed Peas – Wikipedia
Black Eyed Peas (also known as The Black Eyed Peas) is an American musical group consisting of rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and J. Rey Soul. Originally an alternative hip hop group, they subsequently refashioned themselves as a more marketable pop-rap act.
Welcome to 2018 dear reader and to song #1000. I never thought we would make it but here we are. Our journey is almost over. Today we’re leaving the UK and Scotland, and returning to the US and to Los Angeles in California. Formed in 1995 Black Eyed Peas dabbled in hip hop, R&B and pop and included rappers such as will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and J. Rey Soul. We join them in 2018 with the release of a new single entitled – Street Livin’.
In Street Livin’ will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo share out the verses of the track and regale us with tales of racial and social injustice in the US. The song burrows down into what it is to be black in the US. We hear sorry stories of no hope; black Americans are turning on each other rather than staying unified. Mention is inevitably made of police brutality and how being black presents a challenge when faced with the law. One can end up doing time in prison for the simplest of offences or you might go out of your front door one day and never come home if you run into a trigger happy police officer. The song stunningly throws in an unwanted comparison between black Americans in the present day and slaves first brought to the US to work the land. The fact presented to us is that there are more black people in US prisons today than there ever were slaves. Those lines alone are enough to make you stop and think.
I have heard only a little of Black Eyed Peas before and felt they were a pop friendly group with catchy music. Street Livin’ is a different beast altogether. It’s raw and angry, a savage indictment of US society and the plight faced by all black people that walk the streets each day. Systematic racism is undeniable in the US and here in the UK there are issues with the likes of racism, Islamaphobia and anti-semitism. These are all shameful stains on society. Black Eyed Peas remind us that each day for a black person is a struggle to survive, for everyone is against you it seems.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)
Radiohead – Paranoid Android (1997)