Michael Joseph Green Starts 2023 Off With Haunting Track, “Agent Orange”
Music discussing politics, warfare, and the world’s end is nothing new. The 60s and 70s especially have many anti-war songs, such as Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Song,” protesting the Vietnam War. The early 2000s led to another rise in anti-war songs, including “Boom!” by System of a Down and “White Flag Warriors” by the Flobots. This new year begins with another anti-war song, in Michael Joseph Green’s “Agent Orange,” with the title referencing the herbicide used to clear leaves and vegetation for military operations during the Vietnam War.
“Agent Orange” is an alternative rock track painting a scene of the world heading toward the apocalypse. The first verse describes how “No one takes direction/It’s the same old road again/ Disconnect from the tension/ Lean back and enjoy your pension.” It also points out how humanity works against its future generations, as the first verse ends with, “Future takes a backseat/ Another lesson burned.” This continues with the second verse, “Nothing can be undone/ Damage has incurred.”
Along with the lyrics, there are spoken word sections from Rober Oppenheimer in 1965 when remembering the first Trinity atomic bomb test. The song begins with him saying, “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.” Toward the song’s end, Oppenheimer speaks again, this time reciting a line from Hindu Scripture, “Few people laughed. Few people cried. Most people were silent.”
The instrumental elevates the song to another level, bringing an exciting dynamic to the overall track. After the initial spoken word section ends, the instrumental starts with a simple but heavy bass line that is eventually joined by a percussion line. Both the vocals and orchestra come in simultaneously, creating a riveting juxtaposition throughout the song. The contrast is seen with the higher-pitched vocals, compared to the haunting, heavy instrumental and the orchestra’s pretty sound, versus the lyrics’ darker content.
Michael Joseph Green released his first album, When All Else Fails, in 2020, followed by his second studio album, Subterraneans, in 2022. To stay up to date on Michael Joseph Green and his music, follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.