The World We Live In

The world can be a confusing place, being meaningful for some and at the same time meaningless for others.  Our world is unravelling with the global pandemic, climate change, Brexit, Trump nonsense, poverty and starvation, destabilization of the economy, religious conflicts and discrimination and the uncertainty of all of these issues leads to confusion.  The process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark, is called rumination and this will never solve anything, as it only brings on more confusion.  The Temptations had a hit with their song ‘Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)’ and the single was released before it came out on their album Greatest Hits, vol. 2.  The song reached #3 on the US Billboard Pop list chart and it got to #7 on the UK Pop list chart.  The Temptations lineup at this time consisted of Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, and Dennis Edwards.  The Funk Brothers provided the music for this track using two drummers and a wah-wah pedal electric guitar effect.  The Temptations were ranked at number 68 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time.

This song bravely sheds light on the political and social issues plaguing the world during the 1960’s, including segregation, the Vietnam War and other social issues, but it seems to still be relevant with what is going on today.  This song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was politically driven and released in May of 1970.  This song deviates from Motown’s usual clean and charismatic approach and it speaks out against the pharmaceutical companies gouging people for their medications in a time before the opioid epidemic ever existed.  Great googa mooga is an expression of surprise or exasperation that is similar to saying “Goodness gracious”.  This song mentions, “the beat goes on” which was a big hit for Sonny and Cher in 1967.  It contains the Biblical law, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, which allowed people to retaliate against others when they were oppressed.

People movin’ out, people movin’ in.
Why, because of the color of their skin.
Run, run, run, but you sho’ can’t hide
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
Vote for me and I’ll set you free
Rap on, brother, rap on.
Well, the only person talkin’ ‘bout love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation,
humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball Of Confusion that’s what the world is today (yeah, yeah)
The sale of pills is at an all time high
young folks walkin’ ‘round with their heads in the sky
Cities aflame in the summer time, and oh the beat goes on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors,
Evolution, revolution, gun control, the sound of soul,
Shootin’ rockets to the moon, kids growin’ up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will solve ev’rything, and the band played on.
Round and round and around we go, where the world’s headed nobody knows.
Great googa mooga, can’t you hear me talkin’ to you, just a
Ball of Confusion that’s what the world is today. (yeah, yeah)
Fear in the air, tension ev’rywhere
Unemployment rising fast, the Beatle’s new record’s a gas,
and the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation,
and the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors, mod clothes in demand,
population out of hand, suicide too many bills, hippies movin’ to the hills
People all over the world are shouting end the war and the band played on.
Round and round and around we go, where the world’s headed nobody knows.
Great googa mooga, can’t you hear me talkin’ to you, just a
Ball of Confusion that’s what the world is today
Let me hear you, let me hear you, let me hear you
Ball Of Confusion that’s what the world is today

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #303 hosted by Michael – where we are asked to consider the notion of confusion.

10 thoughts on “The World We Live In

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