Youth of the Nation

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"Youth of the Nation"
Single by P.O.D.
from the album Satellite
Released December 25, 2001
Format CD single
Recorded March 2001
Genre Rap rock, alternative rock
Length 4:17
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Howard Benson
P.O.D. singles chronology
"Alive"
(2001)
"Youth of the Nation"
(2001)
"Boom"
(2002)

"Youth of the Nation" is a song by American Christian metal band P.O.D.. It was released in December 2001 as the second single to come from their second major label album, Satellite. It was inspired in part by the school shootings at Santana High School and Columbine High School. While Satellite contained numerous hit songs, "Youth of the Nation" was the band's only No. 1 hit on the Modern Rock chart and reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The song was performed in "Weird Al" Yankovic's polka medley "Angry White Boy Polka" from his 2003 album Poodle Hat.

Background[edit]

The song's inspiration stems from a trip when the band was on their way to record for Satellite on March 5, 2001. They were held up in traffic and discovered that the reason was a shooting at Santana High School where a fifteen-year-old student named Charles Andrew Williams killed two and wounded thirteen. The album was consequently delayed, and the band was inspired to write "Youth of the Nation."

In a 2008 interview, guitarist Marcos Curiel described the event:

"We were rehearsing and writing Satellite a couple of blocks away from the school. One day on the way to the studio, there were all these helicopters and cars speeding by. We really didn’t know what was going on. When we got to the studio, this guy had the news on, and he was like, ‘This kid just went and started blasting fools.’ So we started jamming, and that rhythm just naturally came out then Wuv [Bernardo, drummer] put that drumbeat on it, and the song was born."

Curiel added, "When you can hear something that’s going to uplift you like 'Alive' or something that’s going to bring out knowledge like 'Youth of the Nation,' we’ve done our jobs as an artist."[1]

Lyrics and song structure[edit]

"Youth of the Nation" contains three stories of adolescent tragedy in American culture. It begins by describing a teenager unknowingly skating to school only to be shot by a fellow student. Lyrics go on to speculate whether or not the boy who committed the act felt unloved. Following the chorus, a 12-year old girl called "little Suzie" is depicted as having been abandoned by her father and subsequently "finding love in all the wrong places." Finally, another teen known as "Johnny boy" fails to fit in with his peers and ultimately commits suicide by firearm, "[telling] the world how he felt with the sound of a gat."[2]

With its severe subject matter, "Youth of the Nation" conjures musical despair and desolation. It begins with low guitar notes that echo out broodingly. This pattern continues and is soon followed by a prominently showcased and almost militant drum beat and contemplative bass. Sandoval's rapping details the tragic circumstances in a lamented and anxious delivery. A pre-chorus sees the guitar shift into high, escalating notes that further accent the song's anguish before returning to the initial pattern for the chorus. The bridge features an adolescent choir reciting the chorus, "We are, we are, the youth of the nation" which continues alongside Sandoval as the song comes to an end.[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Youth of the Nation" has the band performing the song in a room filled with photos of adolescents as seen on the single cover. It revolves around a group of teenagers taking a cross country trip in a car from New York City to Venice Beach in Los Angeles via Western Pennsylvania (New Kensington, Arnold, Cheswick, Harmarville) and other locales. The book On the Road by Jack Kerouac can be seen on the dashboard of the car. Directed by Paul Fedor, the video found significant airplay on MTV2.

Marcos Curiel noted that censorship of the video came into play due to Viacom: "We had a girl sitting on the hood of the car going down the highway trying to be free-spirited, you know? [...] But, Viacom and MTV had us edit that out because kids are so easily influenced."[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Youth Of The Nation" (album version) – 4:18
  2. "Alive" (Semi-acoustic version) – 3:27
  3. "Sabbath" – 4:33

Chart and sales[edit]

Chart (2002–2003) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[3] 17
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[4] 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 47
Denmark (Tracklisten)[6] 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[7] 15
France (SNEP)[8] 72
Germany (Media Control Charts)[9] 5
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 20
Italy (FIMI)[11] 13
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 27
Norway (VG-lista)[13] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 16
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[16] 36
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[17] 28
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[17] 6
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks[18] 1
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream[17] 18

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Date Sales certified
Australia[19] Platinum 2002 70,000 +

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Blurry" by Puddle of Mudd
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
March 30 – April 6, 2002
Succeeded by
"The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World

Awards[edit]

2003 Grammy Awards[edit]

  • Best Hard Rock Performance (nomination)

2002 MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

  • Best Rock Video (nomination)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Blatt, Mitchell P.O.D. Interview: Back Together, New Album in April Juiced Sports (March 13, 2008). Retrieved on 12-23-11.
  2. ^ Fenell, Zachary Alternative Rock Songs About Suicide Yahoo! (October 11, 2010).
  3. ^ "Australian-charts.com – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  4. ^ "P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  6. ^ "Danishcharts.com – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation". Tracklisten. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  7. ^ "P.O.D.: Youth of the Nation" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  8. ^ "Lescharts.com – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  9. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  10. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Italiancharts.com – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation". Top Digital Download. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – P.O.D. search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  13. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation". VG-lista. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  14. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation". Singles Top 60. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  15. ^ "P.O.D. – Youth of the Nation – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  16. ^ "Chart Stats – P.O.D. (UK)". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c "P.O.D. > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ "P.O.D. Album & Song Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  19. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.