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The tagline for the movie Pump Up the Volume. Originally coined by the eat me beat me lady (Nora DeNiro, played by Samantha Mathis), Happy Harry Hardon, the alter ego of Mark Hunter (played by Christian Slater) uses it to push his message out even as he is arrested and dragged off.

It was also used in graffiti, along with So Be It and The Truth is a Virus.

I've always enjoyed the movie - the message to me has always been, "The best time to rock the boat is when you're in it." It's the passengers inside the boat - the ones most affected by it for good or ill - who know when rocking the boat is worth the cost.

Would you have told the American Revolutionaries, "don't rock the boat"?

Title: Talk Hard
Artist: Miss Black America
Album: Track 7, God Bless Miss Black America (Integrity Records, September 2002)
Length: 3:36
Date: April 2000
Music: Miss Black America
Lyrics: Seymour Glass

Miss Black America frontman and vocalist Seymour Glass has this to say on Talk Hard:

"And then I went and watched 'Pump Up The Volume', one of my favourite films of all time, with Christian Slater's pirate radio DJ character exposing the evils of a corrupt, grade-obsessed All-American High School. Obviously, being an American movie it's a little bit over the top, but when you think about it, British schools are just as corrupt and just as obsessed with grades. How many people do you know who were or are at school and who are intelligent and bright and could do so well, but instead of being supported they're just told they're rubbish because they struggle with this or that bit of homework, or because the school so blatantly sees them as nothing more than a Grade-Making Machine who must be pushed harder and harder in order to make the grades and make the school look good. Well, fuck schools: by the time I did my GCSEs and all the way through A-levels I suffered panic attacks so bad I couldn't stay in the classroom for a whole 50-minute lesson without having to leave and go breathe into a paper bag somewhere, and while I went further and further off the rails all I got told by my teachers was that I was either useless and rubbish in the first place or a grave disappointment to everyone. You are not your grades or your qualifications or whatever miserable job you end up rotting in for the rest of your life; you are whatever brilliant things you've said and done, whichever cool places you've been to; your worth is measured in the smiles you've brought to other people's faces and the lives you've made even that little bit better. Never, ever be told that you are useless. Your head is not empty. Talk hard."

Beautiful guitar melodies and heart-rending prose from Seymour effortlessly make way for an eclectic mix of instrumentation. This is an invigorating track for the disillusioned youth who are fed up with society and the world we all are forced to live under every day. It has melancholic points, but Seymour makes this one of the most moving songs on the album being full of pithy axioms ("We are Goebbels' children") and optimistic choruses ("Your head is not empty ... You can do anything you feel"). The tune alternates between despairing gloom and all-out attitude, and our power contained within is reaffirmed with smashing cymbals, rocking electric riffs and Seymour's beautiful "sha-la-la-la"s.

"Toilet trained and dumb" - Seymour uses a quotation from Radiohead's seminal Bends-era single of bitterness, My Iron Lung. This shows that, not only does he recognise great lyrics, but also clearly feels an affinity with Thom Yorke when considering his frustration at all people who demonstrate such compliance with the head shrinkers out to get them.

Talk Hard is an anthem for anyone who feels utter dissatisfaction with the education system and, hell, the system in general. The lyrics promise palmy things to come and listening to "'Til the day you die, you are alive" or "But I am the future: / Hear me roar!" will restore anyone's self-belief. This song has an overwhelmingly positive message and it's impossible to stand still to the live track and ignore the wonderfully uplifting guitar solo nearly three minutes in, just before the emphatic finale. Talk Hard is a finely crafted song about confidence in what we are and instructing everyone to stand up for what they believe and never allow yourself to be put down by the ignorant - and all this without resorting to fluffy Sunday School "Jesus loves all of you" trash. Even if they can't see it, you are better than them all, and one fine day they won't be able to ignore it anymore.

Talk Hard was listed as the third best single in the illustrious John Peel's greatly respected Festive Fifty chart of 2002, which is voted for by Radio One listeners.

I am not washed-up
I should believe I am, but I do not
I still read all their ungraded hatemail
Fourteen long years of school
And all I learned was to fail

Well I am not proud
To rot with that crowd
'Cause I am stronger

I was born in a force-ten gale
It takes more than hot air to blow the wind out of my sails
And my eyesight's poor
But I am the future:
Hear me roar, yeah!

Get ready to talk hard
Know this:
Your head is not empty
So talk hard
Sha-la-la-la
You can do anything you feel

"Toilet-trained and dumb"
When we first talk, we learn by rote,
"We are scum
We come from nothing?
That's what we deserve"
Classrooms crowded with robots
We are Goebbels' children

But we're not down yet
Don't let them forget
That we are stronger

You are born
'Til the day you die, you are alive
So while you've got the time
At least try to justify yourself
The buck stops with you and no-one else, yeah

Get ready to talk hard
Know this:
Your head is not empty
So talk hard
Sha-la-la-la
You can do anything you feel

Get ready to talk hard
Know this:
Your head is not empty
So talk hard
Sha-la-la-la
You can do anything you feel
Anything you feel, yeah
Anything you feel

Talk hard, talk hard, talk talk, talk, talk hard.

Seymour's introduction from http://missblackamerica.net/

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CST Approved

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