Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan compose the song, “Civil War” in the album, Guns N’ Roses, and release it for the first time in 1990. The artists use a form of art called the power ballad to demonstrate an argument against war. A power ballad is a narrative in the form of a story instead of descriptions and uses imagery to make a point. Also, artists typically use power ballads to deliver powerful messages. The artist,Márcio Silva da Costa, composes the music video by connecting war video scenes and war images with the music to establish a greater impact on the audience. In order to persuade the audience against war, the artists synchronize the powerful lyrics, music, and video and demonstrate to the audience the destruction of humans physically and mentally as a result of war, impureness of the concept of Civil War practiced during war, and repetition of the same mistakes in handling issues and engaging in war throughout history.
The music artists of “Civil War” take a strong stance in persuading the audience against war, and pass the message that the audience must observe and analyze the wrongness of war on humans as it forces young men to fight and kills them. In regards to mental health of the people, the artists desire to push audience out of any ignorance to observe that the future of the people is also being destroyed as war nurtures hate and fear within people. Furthermore, in order to place emphasis on destruction of humanity, the artist emphasize on death and suffering caused by war, also referred to as “blood we are spilling” (Rose, Slash, McKagan). The video and music work together to place further emphasis on this point. In order to show the innocence of young men who should not be forced into war, the video displays young men vomiting or shivering along with slower and depressing tone of music followed by immediate violence and death accompanied by hard rock music. To finally ensure that the point is memorable to the audience, piles of dead men, some of which are amputated, are displayed on the video.
War is formally known as organized or civil dispute between two or more formal units or groups of people. The composers of this artistic response to war aim to convince the audience that war maintains extremely uncivil characteristics. As an example, the video displays to the audience soldiers shooting soldiers from the opposing nation even after the soldiers from the opposing nation surrendered. War is interpreted as a product of pride of leaders and politicians as opposed to protection of people or rights. Specifically, the artists portray that war is not civil as it satisfies the needs of the rich at the sacrifice of the poor. Moreover, the song compares humans being drafted to war to meat being sold from a grocery store.
Finally, the artists present disappointment that despite the horrible consequences of war in the past, politicians continue to declare war, and the artists attempt to convince the audience that the past serves as a lesson to avoid war. The artists also mention that history keeps repeating itself because the horrible truths of wars in the past are kept covert line. By displaying this to the audience, artists persuade the audience to not only side against war, but to take action against it. The composers encourage the audience to uncover information about war that is not readily available to war to uncover brutalities that are not typically released to public. For example, U.S. government maintained details such as amount of deaths and sickness as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a secret to avoid rebellion from citizens against the war. The phrase, “The way they’ve always done before” (Rose, Slash, McKagan), repeats to emphasize that the history keeps on repeating, and that men have not learned from their mistakes.
The artists suggest to the audience that inhumane, uncivil, and recurring misstep. In the point of view of the artists, better communication between different parties, nations, or groups of the world can prevent war. The failure to communicate causes failure in humanity, civility, and effectiveness of lessons provided by history.
Link to “Civil War Guns N’ Roses Legendado”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r6lLOUa1P8
Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan. YouTube. n.p. 17 Oct 2011. Web. 16 July 2013.