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Song Stories

“Free Radicals”

The Flaming Lips | 2006

With lines including "You’re not so radical/In fact, you’re fanatical," this track from At War With the Mystics was rumored to be directed at the band’s unhappy tour with Beck, though frontman Wayne Coyne struck that one down. "No! I’d tell you if it was. But he’s not fanatical in any way," he said. "He’s not awake enough. I would love it if he was a freak." Instead, the hard-riffing track offers a freakout of its own amid the album’s blissed-out psych-pop, nodding back at the Oklahoma City band’s noisy early years.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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