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Prayer of the Refugee

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"Prayer of the Refugee"
The back of a man is seen while he is jumping in front of a crowd. To the right of the man, there is a drawing of a fist in front of a heart, with the text "RISE AGAINST" above it. In the lower right corner, the text "PRAYER OF THE REFUGEE" is displayed.
Single by Rise Against
from the album The Sufferer & the Witness
ReleasedDecember 6, 2006
Format
RecordedJanuary–April 2006; The Blasting Room, Fort Collins, Colorado
GenreMelodic hardcore
Length3:19
LabelGeffen
Songwriter(s)Rise Against
Producer(s)
Rise Against singles chronology
"Ready to Fall"
(2006)
"Prayer of the Refugee"
(2006)
"The Good Left Undone"
(2007)
Music video
"Prayer of the Refugee" on YouTube

"Prayer of the Refugee" is a song by American rock band Rise Against, featured on their fourth studio album The Sufferer & the Witness (2006). The lyrics were written by lead vocalist Tim McIlrath, and deal with the themes of forced displacement and the societal issues surrounding refugees. The song uses a contrasting verse-chorus form, with slow and melancholic verses against fast-paced and chaotic choruses. It was released as The Sufferer & the Witness's second single on December 6, 2006.

Commercially, "Prayer of the Refugee" reached number seven on the Alternative Songs chart, and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Critics praised the contrasting verse-chorus format, as well as the simple yet effective lyrics. In the accompanying music video, the band performs in a retail store, with intermittent shots of foreign workers making the store products. The band wanted the video to showcase how conventional business models allow for various human rights violations.

Recording and composition[edit]

The lyrics for "Prayer of the Refugee" were written by lead vocalist Tim McIlrath, while the music was collectively written by the band. Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore engineered and produced the song, while Chris Lord-Alge served as the audio mixer. It was recorded at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado, and mastered by Ted Jensen.[1]

"Prayer of the Refugee" is three minutes and nineteen seconds, and combines elements of hardcore punk and melodic hardcore.[2] According to the song's sheet music, the composition is written in the time signature of common time, with a fast tempo of 144 beats per minute. It follows verse-chorus form, and is composed in the key E♭ minor, with a melody that spans a tonal range of A♭3 to C♭6.[3] The song is about forced displacement, and the societal issues surrounding refugees.[2][4] The lyrics begin from the perspective of a refugee telling their child of their life before displacement, backed by "plaintive guitars and weary singing".[2] The slow opening directly contrasts the chorus, which "jarringly explode[s]" into a fast-paced rhythm section and chaotic vocals.[4] After a second verse-chorus section, the bridge begins, which is followed by a guitar solo by McIlrath.[5] The songs concludes with a final chorus section.[3]

Release and reception[edit]

"Prayer of the Refugee" began playing on radio stations in November 2006.[6] The following month, it was released as the second single from the band's fourth studio album, The Sufferer and the Witness.[7] Commercially, "Prayer of the Refugee" reached number seven on the Alternative Songs chart in the United States.[8] It was certified platinum in July 2013 by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments of 1,000,000 copies.[9]

Several critics have highlighted the contrasting verse and chorus format.[2][5][10] Drew Beringer of AbsolutePunk felt that the contrast allows the song to slowly build up, "only to kick you in the gut with the bombastic chorus".[10] AllMusic's Corey Apar and PopMatters's Will Rausch had similar opinions, as they both described the chorus as "empowering".[2][4] Writing for Sputnikmusic, Davey Boy praised the simple yet effective lyrics, and compared "Prayer of the Refugee" to one of Rise Against's previous songs, "Life Less Frightening".[5] Eric Clark of The Gazette called "Prayer of the Refugee" The Sufferer & The Witness's "crowning achievement".[11]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video was directed by Tony Petrossian.[12] In the video, Rise Against performs inside a retail store. The camera intermittently zooms in on products, such as shoes and toy cars, before zooming out to foreign workers and children making the products.[13] Near the end of the video, the workers place Made in USA stickers on packaged boxes, while the band members destroys items in the store. The video ends with a shot of the broken and fallen products, which spell out "fair trade".[14]

Petrossian originally thought to write a video treatment about a refugee trying to enter the United States, but knew that the band was going to receive several treatments with the same idea. Instead, he decided to portray the plight of the refugee from a different angle. The band members unanimously agreed upon Petrossian's treatment. The video deals various themes, including consumerism, fair trade, and sweatshops, and attempts showcase how conventional business models allow for various human rights violations.[15]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Sufferer & the Witness.[1]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Sufferer & the Witness (liner notes). Rise Against. Geffen Records. 2006.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e Apar, Corey (n.d.). "The Sufferer & the Witness". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Prayer of the Refugee". MusicNotes. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Rausch, Will (July 20, 2006). "The Sufferer and the Witness". PopMatters. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Boy, Davey (June 19, 2008). "The Sufferer and the Witness". Sputnikmusic. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Alternative Adds This Week". AllAccess. November 7, 2006. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  7. ^ "Prayer of the Refugee" (CD single)|format= requires |url= (help) (Media notes). Rise Against. Geffen. 2006.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ "Rise Against – Chart history". Modern Rock Tracks for Rise Against. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum: Rise Against Certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Beringer, Drew (n.d.). "Rise Against – The Sufferer & The Witness". AbsolutePunk. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  11. ^ The Gazette (December 28, 2006). "Cursive tops Gazette's 2006 album list". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. p. 6WE.
  12. ^ Garner, George (February 15, 2015). "The Ultimate Rise Against Videography". Kerrang!. Archived from the original (select "Prayer of the Refugee" slide) on April 7, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  13. ^ Kim, Dave (September 23, 2012). "10 Best Rise Against Songs". WGRD-FM. Archived from the original on March 11, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  14. ^ Petrossian, Tony (director). Rise Against - Prayer Of The Refugee (Music video). Vevo. Archived from the original on 2017-02-14.
  15. ^ Petrossian, Tony (director). Rise Against - Prayer Of The Refugee (Behind The Scenes) (Behind the scenes video). Vevo. Archived from the original on 2010-07-03.
  16. ^ "Rise Against Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  17. ^ https://www.billboard.com/charts/year-end/2007/alternative-songs

External links[edit]