Meaning of “Youth of the Nation” by P.O.D.
“Youth of the Nation” is a song performed by P.O.D. – an American Christian nu metal band. The lyrics of the song were inspired by the Santana High School shooting in California that claimed the lives of two students and left 13 others injured on March 5, 2001. The song was also inspired by another school shooting, the Columbine High School massacre, which occurred on April 20, 1999 in Columbine, Colorado, U.S. The shooting injured 24 people and claimed the lives of 15 others (a teacher, 12 students and the two perpetrators).
In an interview Sonny Sandoval (lead singer of P.O.D.) had with Songfacts.com, he revealed that at the time the Santana High School shooting was unfolding, he and the other members of his band were “two blocks away” from the site of the shooting. According to Sandoval, the band was at that time working on their album Satellite and had taken a short break to enjoy some coffee. It was during the coffee break that they realized the horror that was unfolding before them just two blocks away.
Shocked by what was going on, the band went back to the studio and created the song.
The Santana High School Shooting
The Santana High School shooting was perpetrated by a 15-year-old student of the school named Charles Andrew Williams. According to reports, on March 5, 2001, Williams made his way into his school armed with his father’s .22-caliber revolver and began shooting indiscriminately at his fellow students. At the end of the shooting, Williams had shot a total of 15 people, two of whom died. The two victims of the shooting who lost their lives were: 17-year-old student Randy Gordon and a 14-year-old student Bryan Zuckor. According to Williams, he was forced to do what he did because he had gotten to a point where he could no longer take the bullying he was subjected to at school. He later went on to say that he committed the crime because his friends dared him to. Williams was subsequently sentenced on August 15, 2002 to serve 50 years to life behind bars.
Columbine High School massacre
The Columbine High School massacre was perpetrated by two senior students of the Columbine High School 17-year-old Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old Eric Harris. The massacre, which lasted from 11:19 a.m. to 12:08 p.m., claimed the lives of 12 students and a teacher. The shooting also left 24 others with various degrees of injuries. After the killings, the two perpetrators exchanged fire with police before committing suicide. The pair’s motives for committing the heinous crime still remain unclear.
Lyrics of “Youth of the Nation”
The song’s lyrics talk about the tragic stories of three adolescents: a teenage school student who gets shot by his fellow student at school, 12-year-old little Suzzie whose father left her leaving Suzzie to find love in the wrong places, and another teenage boy (“Johnny boy”) who goes on to commit suicide because he failed woefully in his attempts to be cool and fit in with his mates.
It is worth noting that despite the song being inspired by real school shootings in America, the three tragic stories above aren’t based on any real events.
Facts about “Youth of the Nation”
- “Youth of the Nation” was written by four members of P.O.D. (lead vocalist Sonny Sandoval, bass player Traa Daniels, drummer Noah Bernardo, and lead guitarist Marcos Curiel).
- “Youth of the Nation” was produced by Grammy Award winning music producer Howard Benson.
- The song was released on Christmas Day of 2001 (December 25th, 2001) as the second single from the band’s fourth studio album Satellite. Satellite sold over seven million copies across the globe, making it one of the best-selling album of all time.
- This song, which is one of the most successful songs ever released by P.O.D., made it to the number one spot on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks. It also went on to peak at numbers 28 and 36 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart respectively.
Did “Youth of the Nation” win a Grammy Award?
No, it didn’t. The song was actually nominated for the Grammy Award for the Best Hard Rock Performance at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards in 2003 but lost to “All My Life” by the Foo Fighters.
What musical genre is “Youth of the Nation”?
It is an alternative rock song. It can also be put into the bracket of rap rock.