"Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire

Example Tone Analysis

The eastern world it is exploding
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill but not for votin'
You don't believe in war but whats that gun you're totin'?
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

But you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you boy, it's bound to scare you boy

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction

Yeah my blood's so mad feels like coagulating
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth it knows no regulation
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for four days in space
But when you return it's the same old place
The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead but don't leave a trace
Hate your next door neighbor but don't forget to say grace

And tell me
Over and over and over and over again my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction
Mmm, no, no, you don't believe

We're on the eve of destruction

Imagery, Diction, Syntax, and Details Analysis

The song opens with visual and auditory images of war like "violence flaring, bullets loading..." and "the Jordan River... [with] bodies floating" that establish the sights and sounds of a intense, dangerous battle.

Right after these images, though, the song uses repetition in its syntax to say "but you tell me over and over and over again my friend... ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction." The repetition here shows that the citizens are perhaps trying to deny the severity of the war's images.

There are details alluded to like "marches alone can't bring integration" and "take a look around Selma" that reference the protests happening on the home front during the Vietnam War. The song doesn't seem to think these marches will accomplish much though.

Finally, diction like "hate," "disgrace," and "destruction" have connotative meanings of incredible, inescapable badness. The word "eve" when used in conjunction with these other words shows that the situations in the US and abroad at this time could go from bad to worse.

Tone Analysis

The music's tone could be described as REFLECTIVE with the guitar and the sing-song nature of the vocals.

The lyric's tone could be described as DISGRUNTLED because the words sound like there is no hope and no acknowledgement of how awful situations are.

Symbolic Visual

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