It’s been almost a quarter century since Paul Brady wrote The Island, and yet it remains fresh and poignant today. His opening lines reference the Lebanese civil war; contemporary listeners will be drawn to Iraq. This is a great song about the futility of violence invoked for the cause of nationalism. His lyrics still manage to pack a punch:
“Witchdoctors praying for a mighty showdown
No way our holy flag is gonna fall
Up here we sacrifice our children
To feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday
And teach them dying will lead us into glory…”
The song fades with the repetition of the word “freedom”, and Brady seems to end the song in mid sentence. The tone is one of puzzlement, confusion. What sort of “freedom” is being promoted here, Brady seems to ask? He has, of course, no answer.