Analysis of "War" by Bob Marley

Dec 9, 2010
by: nrobinson

Bob Marley’s genre of music is reggae, but it’s not just any type of reggae.  Marley analyzes the society around him through his songs’ lyrics.  He doesn’t always rhyme, but he truly doesn’t  need to; he gets his point across simply with the words he says.  Marley’s song titled “War” is short, simple, and to the point.   It takes a glimpse at how minorities are treated worldwide.  

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior

And another


Is finally

And permanently


And abandoned -

Everywhere is war -

Me say war.


That until there no longer

First class and second class citizens of any nation

Until the colour of a man's skin

Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes -

Me say war.


That until the basic human rights

Are equally guaranteed to all,

Without regard to race -

Dis a war.


That until that day

The dream of lasting peace,

World citizenship

Rule of international morality

Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,

But never attained -

Now everywhere is war - war.


And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes

that hold our brothers in Angola,

In Mozambique,

South Africa

Sub-human bondage

Have been toppled,

Utterly destroyed -

Well, everywhere is war -

Me say war.


War in the east,

War in the west,

War up north,

War down south -

War - war -

Rumours of war.

And until that day,

The African continent

Will not know peace,

We Africans will fight - we find it necessary -

And we know we shall win

As we are confident

In the victory


Of good over evil -

Good over evil, yeah!

Good over evil -

Good over evil, yeah!

Good over evil -

Good over evil, yeah!

Marley has a knack for making complex subjects, like discrimination and war, seem so basic.  He uses parallel structure throughout this song that enables listeners to comprehend his message very clearly.  His laid-back mood gives off the sense that he thinks everything is going to be alright eventually.  As of now, his people are living in a dystopia of racism and hate, and he recognizes it with serenity.  He ends the song by saying that there is hope for the future, there is hope for a utopia.