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Production Credits:

In a World Gone Mad Click for Lyrics

First Appearance: www.beastieboys.com, March 11th, 2003
Written by: Beastie Boys
Performed by: Beastie Boys

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...

References:

  • Saddam – Saddam Hussein (1937-2006), Iraqi political leader and former president of Iraq, ousted during the United States-led 2003 invasion of Iraq
  • Cocaine - an illicit drug used for its stimulant and euphorigenic properties
  • Courvoisier - famous brand of cognac (brandy)
  • "Axis of Evil" - in his first state of the union address to Congress on January 29, 2002, U.S. president George W. Bush delivered strong warnings to terrorists around the world, and in particular to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, which he called an “axis of evil”
  • Crack - pellet-size pieces of highly purified cocaine, prepared with other ingredients for smoking, and known to be especially potent and addicting
  • War on Terror - the actions of a U.S.-led coalition to eliminate international terrorism and to protect the United States against future terrorist attacks
  • Iraq - a republic in SW Asia, bordered on the south by Kuwait, the Persian Gulf, and Saudi Arabia; on the west by Jordan and Syria; on the north by Turkey; and on the east by Iran
  • As-Salamu alaikum - an Islamic form of greeting, meaning "Peace be upon you" or "Peace be to you"
  • Wa alaikum assalam - an Islamic response to "As-Salamu alaikum", meaning "And to you be peace"
  • Middle East - the area from Libya E to Afghanistan, usually including Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia
  • Islam - the religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Koran
  • "Now how many people must get killed, for oil families pockets to get filled? How many oil families must get killed? Not a damn one so what's the deal?" - Similar to the lyrics from Boogie Down Production's 1988 single "My Philosophy" from By All Means Necessary LP: "How many MC's must get dissed, before somebody says, 'Don't fuck with Kris?'
  • Weapons of mass destruction - chemical, nuclear, or biological weapons
  • White House - official name of the executive mansion of the President of the United States
  • Bush - George Walker Bush (1946-) former governor of Texas, current president of the United States of America
  • Zoolander - 2001 comedy film starring Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander, a popular fashion supermodel

Sample & Reference Breakdown:

  • "Citizen rule number 2080/Politicians are shady/So people watch your back 'cause I think they smoke crack/I don't doubt it look at how they act" is lyrically similar to A Tribe Called Quest song called "Check the Rhim" from The Low End Theory LP: "Industry rule number four thousand and eighty/Record company people are shady/So kids watch your back 'cause I think they smoke crack/I don't doubt it. Look at how they act."
  • "You and Saddam should kick it like back in the day, with the cocaine and the Courvoisier" - "It's a bit of a goof. The implication is rather than invloving everybody in the world in their problems, the two of them could go work it out somewhere" - Adam Yauch, 2003
  • "Well I’ll be sleeping on your speeches ‘til I start to snore / Cause I won’t carry guns for an oil war" is similar to lyrics from Big Daddy Kane’s "Ain’t No Half Steppin’": "Your vocab, I’ll only ignore / Be sleeping on your rhymes ‘til I start to snore"
  • "Now how many people must get killed for oil families pockets to get filled? How many oil families must get killed? Not a damn one so what's the deal?" - [The Beasties] accuse the government of going to war for oil

Commentary:

Beastie Boys:

"We felt it was important to comment on where the US appears to be heading now. A war in Iraq will not resolve our problems. It can only result in the deaths of many innocent civilians and US troops. If we are truly striving for safety, we need to build friendships, not try to bully the rest of the world." - Adam Yauch, March 2003

"I think a big part of wanting to do the song was just hearing Bush make these speeches, seeing how the rest of the world was reacting to it, and feeling like Bush doesn't represent us. One of the purposes is to let people in other parts of the world know that the messages he's sending out aren't necessarily the view of all Americans. And it's also to say to people in the United States who might be uncomfortable protesting that it's all right to do that. One thing that the U.S. administration has been trying to do is give the feeling that it's un-American to protest." - Adam Yauch, 2003

"Being together, writing and recording, we felt it would be irresponsible not to address what’s going on in the world while the events are still current. It didn’t make sense to us to wait until the entire record was finished to release this song." - Mike Diamond, March 2003

"This song is not an anti-American or pro-Saddam Hussein statement. This is a statement against an unjustified war." - Adam Horovitz, March 2003

Press & Print Media:

"The song takes a few swipes at President George W. Bush, saying the American leader is launching a "mid-life crisis war" and is "looking like Zoolander, trying to play tough for the camera." - CBC News, March 2003

"On "In a World Gone Mad," they're in adorable elder-statesman mode, trying so hard not to step on anybody's toes that they end up achieving little beyond a kaffeeklatch complaint voiced in reasonable tones over an affable beat. The first problem is the chorus, growled by Adam Yauch in the middle of a reverb hangover that muffles the sound. You want to be shouting along, but instead you wind up just struggling to make out the words. The Beastie Boys have always been funny, or at least clever, but the rest of the lyrics don't rise above the level of a decent Conan O'Brien monologue. It's cute that Adrock quotes Q-Tip ("Citizen rule number 2080/Politicians are shady") but his wacky apology to the nation just makes him sound like an opinionless bystander. At the very end of the song we get a spark of what might have been. The disappointment is amplified by what we know the Beasties are capable of. The right pop song could use metaphor or delivery or sheer sonics, among a zillion other strategies, to make its point. It might even piss some people off. But this song sure as hell won't." - MSN Slate, March 2003

"This ain't your mama's Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan. It's a far cry from "Blowin' in the Wind", but for what's it's worth, it may signal a new era for protest songs, and this is a good thing. Of course, nobody seems to notice that Sleater-Kinney's "Combat Rock", off last year's One Beat, was decidedly anti-authority, but let's not split hairs in protest. Even though many celebrities have spoken out on the impending war in Iraq, much of the mainstream music scene has been silent thus far. The Beastie Boys have decided that the time is now to weigh in with a protest rap in response to the imminent death and destruction. "In a World Gone Mad", is available for free download on the Boys' website. An unnamed source has also come forward claiming that a Clear Channel station has added this seditious track to heavy rotation. Whoa! What bleeding heart program director gave the thumbs up to that one?"
"While the song is neither profound nor esoteric, we admire the socially conscious hip-hoppers for their effort, and they do manage to provide a few salty jabs at the former alliance between the U.S. and Iraq in the process: "You and Saddam should kick it like back in the day/With the cocaine and Courvoisier/But you build more bombs as you get more bold/As your mid-life crisis war unfolds." Okay, so some of the lyrics a tad cheesy. But cheese and salt, hey maybe they're onto something: "Now don't get us wrong/'Cause we love America/But that's no reason to get hysterica!" Hmm. Okay. So it's not as eloquent as "The Message"-- or even, really, Whodini's "The Freaks Come Out at Night". But it's a start! People, we gotta start somewhere." - Marnie Christenson, pitchforkmedia.com 2003

"[An] up-tempo song, which features a simple rhythm and rudimentary samples, has the old-school feel of a Run DMC track. The buoyancy of the beats contrasts with the lyrics, which criticize the Bush's administration's eagerness to attack Iraq." - MTV News, March 2003

"The Beasties may have been driven to create "In a World Gone Mad" because they felt like Bush was turning a deaf ear to the screaming voices of anti-war protesters, but they said they were also motivated after hearing rumors that artists were discouraged from mentioning the Middle East conflict during the Grammy Awards. After so much disinformation, the Boys decided some old-school learning was in order." - MTV News, March 2003

"Though the song has a similar title to the Beenie Man reggae song "World Gone Mad," which laments social conditions and asks the president for an explanation, the Beastie Boys said they were unaware of the other song. Their song mixes lyrics advocating nonviolence and multilateral disarmament with the band's sense of whimsy. Thus a deep thought is followed immediately by a rhyme like "They're layin' on the syrup thick/We ain't waffles, we ain't havin' it." - New York Times, March 2003

"[An] anti-war tirade: over a herky-jerky beat, the song attacks President Bush, but it also flashes trademark Beasties humor" - Rolling Stone, 2003

"Protesting the war in Iraq with a demented seriousness only they could pull off. Best line, Adam Yauch: "George Bush, you're looking like Zoolander, trying to play tough for the camera" - Rolling Stone's Hotlist, 2003

 

Released Versions:

In a World Gone Mad
In a World Gone Mad (Acappella)
In a World Gone Mad (C.C. Remix)
In a World Gone Mad (Cheap Cologne Remix)
In a World Gone Mad (Instrumental)
In a World Gone Mad (Stand Up and Fight Mix)
In a World Gone Mad (Stand Up and Peace Mix)

Live:

Performed in 3 known Concerts.

First known Performance:
25-Apr-2003 : House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Last known Performance:
07-Jun-2003 : Giants Stadium, New York, NY, United States

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