Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Date night at the Electric Mile Drive Thru light Rave was the most magical, colorful, creative way to start 2021. The cascade of bright lights set to dance music made us forget that most of our day is in quarantine.
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN / Unsplash

Watching Netflix, I stumbled upon a song that clicked in my brain as such an interesting lyric set and beat. Since my phone (Pixel 4) is creepy beyond belief - it had lodged the song into my "Now Playing" history.

This song was Silverchair - Anthem for the Year 2000.

You can give it a listen if you want - I think the intent is overly sarcastic, but to drive home the point that the youth lives should not be heavily influenced by the older politicians.

We are the youth
And we are knocking on death's door

Maybe we don't wanna live in a world
Where our innocence is so short

lyrics - Anthem For The Year 2000

So what happened up to the year 2000 to create this song and many others like it?

Geek Squad reflecting on 20th anniversary of Y2K

Was it the upcoming year that all technology when the clocked clicked over would stop working? Perhaps, it was the more serious ramifications of the image of two students gunning down classmates in the Columbine school shooting.

Y2K led engineers down a path of preparing for the future - clear that technology was not going away.

Columbine scared millions into losing trust in visiting a school. The police introduced new deployment tactics to immediately involve them in an active crime-scene instead of waiting for a specialized task force. The other deranged individuals used this event to give them confidence to push copycat school shootings forward.

We can look back to music, which consistently was used as an outlet for current events. From memory, P.O.D - Youth of the Nation rings a bell the most.

An interesting music video if you'd like to watch it - the idea in these lyrics is two stories in parallel. The first is about a teenage girl skating to school only to be gunned down and killed by another student. The 2nd half of the song is a guy attempting to fit in with the popular group and ultimately failing and leading to suicide from firearm.

P.O.D created this song because they were stopped in traffic on the way to record from a different school shooting (Santana High School)

But who knew that this day wasn't like the rest
Instead of taking a test
I took two to the chest
...
Who's to blame for the lives that tragedies claim?
No matter what you say
It don't take away the pain
...
That I feel inside, I'm tired of all the lies
Don't nobody know why
It's the blind leading the blind

lyrics - Youth of the Nation

We can continue this thought exercise again with a few more global events that occurred up to the year 2000.

What about Waco? A religious sect of individuals known as Branch Davidians, that led to a siege and burning of the compound leading to ~80 deaths including that of many many children. Was the memory of mass suicides from the past of Heaven's Gate or the Peoples Temple all building up to the year 2000?

Or was it perhaps nature? Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992 and blew a hole in how prepared America was for more dangerous storms. Building codes changed, FEMA went under fire for being so slow and it was just the beginning. Every few years another hit - Irma, Maria, Sandy, Katrina, Harvey and more.

Or finally, was it the huge uptick of the opioid crisis? OxyContin rose to insane popularity and Purdue Pharma might have led to the drug abuse of millions simply chasing a payday for the company.

We can look to music again for a song related to the events - System of a Down released an album in 2001 called Toxicity. On it was a song after the same name.

This song between the lyrics hints massively at the drug problem of the time.

Eating seeds as a pastime activity
The toxicity of our city, our city
...
Somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep
Disorder, disorder, disorder
...
You, what do you own the world?
How do you own disorder?

lyrics - Toxicity

As the lyrics suggests above, "eating seeds" was about popping ADD pills. Schools anywhere are obviously obsessed with the medication. Students play it off as the "study pills" and bargain them off students who have them legitimately. While others go to a doctor with the intent of asking to be put on a prescription for the medication.

The line about "scared silence and sleep" is probably hinting at the fact that some of the population lives on with medication that suspends them between reality of death and sleep.

You can find references in nearly every song so it was a trip back in time to look at the songs of the 2000s and now connect the dots to what it meant.

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