When we listen to a song, how often do we really listen to it? Usually when a song is played it is nothing more than a background, but to actually listen to a song, deconstruct the lyrics and fully understand what the author was trying to convey does not happen very often. However; when (or if) we do, we would realize that what the author was trying to convey could be done in very different ways. A prime example of this is in «War Pigs» by Black Sabbath and «Blowin’ in the Wind» by Bob Dylan, where they both try to tell us (generally) the same thing, but they go about it in very different ways.
The very first thing that struck me when I was listening to «War Pigs» was that it felt like quite a dark song. It started with sirens, and I do not know many people that would think of «happy» sirens. Usually they are associated with chaos, pain, confusion, suffering etc. The list goes on. Right away this sets a very grim setting, but when Mr. Osborne starts howling, you know that he is not giving the Queen a complement on her new hat. He then starts to compare the generals of an army to satan-worshipping witches. The song is chock full of such metaphors, one would think that it could be set on Halloween with all the references to dark creatures such as sorcerers and witches.
Now on the contrary, when I listened to «Blowin’ in the Wind» it seemed like a very mellow song. It seemed like Mr. Dylan left quite a bit to the comprehension of the reader. He used a lot of poetic devices, and because of it he made the song flow very well. Unlike Mr. Osborne’s song which is full of daemonic references and quite shallow and to the point lyrics, «Blowin’ in the Wind» is full of metaphors and hidden meanings. In my opinion, one of the best examples of this is at the start of the second verse where Mr. Dylan says «How many times must a man look up Before he can see the sky?» It obviously is not meant literally, but what I first thought was «how could a person look at the sky, and not see it?» then I realized that he meant it in the sense that you are not being honest to yourself, that it is not right to convince yourself that you just simply are not seeing what you do not want to see. Such as certain human injustices, like pretending not to hear when you are asked by a street person for any spare change.
It really was interesting to see how these two different people said pretty much, the same thing with very different styles of lyric and music. How Mr. Osborne tries to shock you, and tries to get you riled up, good and angry and then blame all of the problems of war on the politicians and aristocrats. He just says it outright, with straight up (some might say «shallow») language. But then with Mr. Dylan, who is not complaining about War directly, but generally at all of the problems with social justice that we face, uses a much «higher» order of thinking. He put so many layers into this song, that you could easily spend hours and hours dissecting it. «Blowin’ in the Wind» and «War Pigs» really are two ageless songs; anybody from any time would be able to take really meaningful thoughts and ideas from these two.