The alternative genre of rock music became popular back in 1990. Such music has strong differences not only in its sound or social context, but also in its regional roots. And a wide range of mixed musical styles (gothic rock, grunge, noise pop and others) allowed to expand its popularity among music lovers.
However, not all subgenres have survived to this day. Most of them have been popular for too short a period of time. Groups broke up, not being able to join the masses. They were not played on the radio, and they were forced to release their albums, turning to independent music labels.
And although the popularity of the genre began to decline in 2023, alternative rock music resonated with its fans. So, the Canadian team 54-40 can be distinguished as representatives. Their popularity was achieved back in 1996. But these days, music lovers are once again turning to their music, discovering a new meaning in familiar lines.
What is the story Behind the Song «One Gun» by 54-40
In one of the most populous and ethnically diverse cities in Vancouver, the popular rock band 54-40 could not have been born. The name of the team is associated with the slogan “54-40 and fight!”. Thus, James Polk, who ran for president, expressed an unsuccessful state program that concerned the vital interests of nations. James Polk is remembered not only as the first “compromising candidate”, but historians also include him in the top ten most prominent US presidents.
The alternative Canadian rock band 54-40 held the bar just as high. They made a successful career, having received platinum status in Canada for 4 released albums. And the Juno Awards, which became the Canadian analogue of the Grammy, nominated the rock band for 8 awards. In addition, the team has stood the test of time. Their popularity has not faded from 1996 to 2016, remaining in the rankings of the 150 best-selling Canadian artists and the 50 best-selling groups in Canada.
The first song to enter the Canadian Singles Chart and reached number 90 in the music magazine RPM, which published the charts of the most popular songs and albums, was the song “One Day in Your Life”. It was released as a single from the 1987 album Shom Me. But not only this song is considered the hallmark of the band. In the same album, the top song “One Gun” sounded, turning music lovers upside down with one gun.
The set of musical compositions collected in “Shom Me” cost vocalist Neil Osbourne $ 250,000. Apparently such a cost is justified that the recording was made in Los Angeles. However, the songs “One Day in Your Life” and “One Gun” earned the album a CASBY nomination for Album of the Year, probably justifying the cost.
Explain the meaning of “One Gun” – 54-40
“One Gun” is considered one of 54-40’s brooding songs. You can enjoy the track for 4 minutes 14 seconds. An energetic, slightly danceable composition with a rhythmic time signature of 4 beats per beat. And the indicator that determines the speed of performance or playback of the composition is 136. However, it can be reduced to 68 BPM, or vice versa increased to 272 BPM. It depends on the taste of the music lover.
The song itself doesn’t seem to make much sense and the first thing that comes to mind after a casual listen is Mae West’s “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”.
However, throughout the work, a metaphor can be traced. It is this turn of speech that evokes a lot of emotions. People cry, laugh, and sometimes their minds turn over. So, “One Gun” makes listeners think about the words that are intertwined into bizarre lines.
The very name of the song has a hidden connotation and is translated from English as “One Gun”. A pistol is a short handgun for shooting at short distances. It hits living targets, but is it possible to avoid this? It is this subtext that is hidden in the beloved lines.
“One Gun” – 54-40 Lyrics meaning (line by line)
You should not reflect on the topic: “what the author said”, but simply turn to the text and consider one of the key lines:
-And she said, «One more gun set free makes people scream
-They’re screaming for me»
In this context, the gun is associated with evil that hurts people by making them scream. “They scream for me.” The girl feels their suffering, passes through herself, but what can she do? One evil is added to another and accumulates: “One gun added on to the one gun”.
In such a cycle of evil, the girl is not ready to be happy: “No one can kiss me while people scream.” While this world is suffering, while others are hurting. But how can this ill-fated cycle be broken, how can we help those in need?
This is a complex and multifaceted topic that reminds you that you need to think not only about yourself. The world is not as cloudless as others would like. But together you can heal from wounds, you can survive pain, sadness, longing. You can reach out to those in need and then you yourself will become happy.
The whole text is based on the fact that the guy liked the girl, but she refuses him. After all, he puts his own interests above others. He does not hear the people around him, which cannot be said about his passion. This sensitive girl is ready to give up her happiness until he finally realizes the essence of her message. In the final part of the song, he asks to take him with her and she finds a way out:
-And she said, «Come on man with me and see
We will kiss all the people free»
At the same time, free (free of charge) has a connotation – disinterestedly. A kiss (kiss) – goodness and love. These lines are about doing good deeds and not expecting anything in return. She is ready to share these moments with him. Teach him to enjoy the little things despite the ongoing accumulation of evil in this world. After all, the chord notes end on the chorus “One gun added on on on”. The gun line is added next, meaning that the evil will continue to accumulate. But what will the listener join? To a girl who dreams of helping screaming people or to the accumulated evil? It’s up to him to decide.
The above lines prove that metaphors are invented not only in Russia, but also abroad. But most importantly, not in the lost power of the language of the 19th century, but in the modern language used by people every day.