Are We Going Selfish?

By Irfan Nugroho

Starting with a rising-spirit guitar riff, this song then lures everyone to banging heads. Moreover, those hearing the song will certainly dance wildly, hang their heads faster, and sing along when Tim McIlrath (the vocalist) begins the song with a rhetoric “can you hear..” and the fast-drum beating. Yeah, you’re right, this is Voices Off Camera by Rise Against.

The first part of the lyric questions us whether we hear people’s sufferings or we are just as blind as him (the lyric’s author). It is rhetoric and an evaluation to us.

Have we attempted to hold out people’s hands and to tugging at our sleeves? Have we worked together for raising and resolving their sufferings? Or at least, have we addressed our heartfelt sympathy to those greatly suffering from these long miseries?

That’s some messages I can catch from the first part of the lyric. Slightly different from the first part, the second part of the song – not the refrain, I think it’s more the author’s personal experience about being part of those suffering from the world miseries.

I can’t bear the thought of losing,
I dread the attention winning brings

and ever since the day I came here
I can stand without your strings
I’m so sick of all these people
but I’m scared to be alone
and if this life has taught me anything
I forgot it long ago and so I

Being alienated from society is a sick. It seems that he wants to express his losing, when nobody is familiar with him. Perhaps, this is the author’s experience when he moved to somewhere new, where restrictions were everywhere.

That’s why he said that he was so sick of people living around him. It is just because every single person, especially those living in big cities, tends to be selfish and pay less attention to alienated society members such as the author.

the heart is something you can’t control
we either choose to follow or be left on our own
so we’re leaving here on a less-traveled road
as desperate cries grow louder,
I know we’re getting close, getting close

The first line of the above lyric may be true. Heart is an uncontrollable thing inside us. It is a wadding blood that has powers to control our attitude, and to determine whether we are going to be good or bad. That’s why the author offers an argument; we follow our heart or are left on our own.

This is one of my favourite songs. You can find this song on their album entitled Revolutions per Minute produced by Bill Stevenson at The Blasting Room in 2003. You can download this song here, or the full album here.