Rockin' in the Free World was recorded by rock musician Neil Young for his 1989 album Freedom, and was later rereleased on the 1991 Neil Young/Crazy Horse live album Weld. It was written by Neil Young and is the most well known song from his Freedom album, which was a return to his 1970s-style politically-tinged rock form after experimenting with several other genres (country, techno, other stuff that best remains in the 1980s) throughout the entire decade of the 1980s. The lyrics are as follows.

There's colors on the street
Red, white, and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it, any way I can.

Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away, and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life, and what she's done to it
There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool

Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world

This is simply an excellent rock song. If one just looks at it as simply a piece of music, it is well executed and moving, as any good piece of music should be.

But this song goes much deeper than that. This is a song about the things that are wrong in the modern world, many of which were brought about by the freedoms that we now enjoy. The verses of this song carry that point very well, describing many of the problems of modern urban life.

But what of the choruses, which seem to be a rallying cry for all supporters of the free world? This is where the song turns interpretive, allowing the listener to glean from the song what he or she wishes. I tend to think that the chorus means three different things at the different points in the song:
The first chorus is about going on with living, even in the face of the problems. This is led into by the end of the first verse, which in essence states that idea in so many words.
The second chorus is about rejection of the consumerism and exercising your freedom of choice. By choosing to do things differently, the pain described in the previous verse can be fixed.
The third chorus is about education. Expand your mind, read a book, and consider the world.

This song's not about revolution. It's not about "taking down the man" who holds the people in oppression. It's about respecting the freedom we have (hence the title of the album it appears on), and using this freedom to attempt to better the lives of those around us, and to better ourselves. It's the same message that Neil Young sang about throughout the 1970s; go listen to Ohio or Harvest and you'll hear much the same message in a different package for a different time.

Here, though, unlike Ohio, Young writes a song that is still relevant today and will likely be relevant for many years to come. We won't solve the problems of modern life easily, but we do have the freedom to do something, to make changes, and to improve the world.

So, when I pick up my acoustic guitar and take myself through this song, sitting at home alone in my bedroom, the same message still comes through. I have the power to change the world just by changing myself; so do you.

Keep on rockin' in the free world, indeed.

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