10 Songs Inspired by Classism + Inequality as Chosen by Redlight King
Redlight King are back on the scene, aiming to uplift with a song that truly speaks to the human spirit with their new track "In Our Blood." As the song identifies with breaking down the generational cycles of classism and inequality, we reached out to Redlight King frontman Mark "Kaz" Kasprzyk to get his input on some of the songs he's been inspired by over the years that also capture this sense of the human spirit overcoming adversity.
The vocalist tells us, “'In Our Blood’ summed up is about heart. It’s about family. It’s about never giving up. The song was first imagined by our guitarist Julian [Tomarin], who laid down the riff and a killer melody in the hook. It continued to build with a vengeance, so we kicked it into high gear with a four on the floor beat and a traditional rock n’ roll approach to scoring the lyrics."
He adds, "For me, ‘In Our Blood’ captures the human spirit and gives a sense of hope that we can break through the generational cycles of classism set in place to divide us. When I sing the song I think of my family, I think about my grandfather fighting in war, the things they went through, the sacrifices they made and that my parents made as well. I think of my bandmates and the audience we play for. We are all trying to make the best of this journey. We all bleed the same color and we’re all in this together."
Get a closer look and listen to "In Our Blood" below, complete with a video directed by Strati Havartos. The song itself will be out worldwide as of May 6 via AFM Records, with a new album expected to follow by fall or winter of this year.
Redlight King, "In Our Blood"
You can also look for Redlight King playing Welcome to Rockville on May 19, the Blue Ridge Rock Festival the weekend of Sept. 8-11 and the Louder Than Life festival on Sept. 24. Stay up to date on all their activities via their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Now head below, as Kaz serves up his list of songs dealing with classism and inequality that inspired the themes while writing "In Our Blood."
"Hurricane"Bob Dylan (1976)
A classic protest song from one of my all-time favorite lyricists, it was based on a real-life story of the middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who was falsely charged with murder and imprisoned. He captures the injustice that could not possibly be undone. How many more were there, and are there, in our prison system today who struggle for justice to be on their side.
"Beds Are Burning"Midnight Oil (1987)
Musically, I love the dynamic arrangement in this song. It has a big anthemic chorus. The song was about giving back stolen indigenous land. The way I hear it, it also begs the question, how can we go about our lives seeking individual progress when so many people in the world are suffering from circumstances they cannot control.
"Dirty Blvd."Lou Reed (1989)
A generation of poor people living in an overcrowded city, with big dreams and few ways to have them come to fruition. I love the picture he painted, the guitars sound like rock 'n' roll to me. They break up perfectly and have the right amount of dirt on them. It tells a story with his mid-range vocal, that of a beat poet.
"I Won't Back Down"Tom Petty (1989)
One of my all-time favorite artists and honestly has inspired me in so many ways as a songwriter and as a human being. I believe Tom Petty and relate to him. Honesty and authenticity, you can’t go wrong.
"Killing in the Name"Rage Against the Machine
One of the most powerful live shows I’ve ever seen. A complete unit on stage — political yes, empowering yes. Sometimes we must rage, and the music helps me understand I’m not alone.
"Participation Trophy"The Bronx (2003)
One word. SICK. I love this song, the riff and heavy groove. This one hits me right in the gut, reminds me of how small we all are and that fate comes for us all.
"Reach for the Sky"Social Distortion (2004)
Gotta have Social D on the list. Mike Ness is my kinda guy, and he and the fellas put on a great show. Mostly we just rap about hot rods. This song resonates with me because we’re never guaranteed tomorrow, and we gotta keep pushing forward.
"How I Got Over"The Roots (2010)
Black Thought is one of my favorite MCs of all time, and the band never disappoints. I had the pleasure of playing a double-header with them in Chicago many years back. ‘We uninspired, we unadmired, And tired and sick of being sick and tired.’ There isn’t a line in this song that doesn’t hit home.
"Bloodlines"Zack Lopez (2016)
Zack is one of my favorite songwriters on the planet. If you listen to this song and don’t feel anything you’re probably dead. No filter on this one, tells it like it is for most people. Experience and conviction make for great art.
Awesome sounding track. Great line in this song, "Not a single thing has ever been mended / By you standing there and saying you're offended." We must challenge ourselves to do more and be the change that we seek.