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Song Stories

“Cult of Personality”

Living Colour | 1973

Political statements in heavy metal became common during the late Eighties, as evidenced by Metallica's "Disposable Heroes," Megadeth's "Peace Sells" and Living Colour's "Cult of Personality." Living Colour's Vernon Reid wanted the latter's lyrics to focus on the mass appeal of certain world leaders. As the guitarist said, "I was thinking about how Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were all very handsome. They had very profound things to say, and I just thought it was really weird that these are cats that are very important politically/socially, but they also look like matinee idols." "Cult" not only features a Zeppelin-esque guitar riff played by Reid, but it also has the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, uttering the final quote in the song.

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Song Stories

“Bizness”

Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

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