Few songs hold more real world meaning. The Doomsday Clock once again reads 2 minutes to midnight, signaling a world teetering on the brink of disaster. This epic masterpiece by the lords of British metal remains just as relevant today as when it was written in 1984.
“2 Minutes to Midnight” was the first video following a timeline made by Iron Maiden, off of their Powerslave album. The video itself was somewhat confusing, leading the band to reject the format all the way until “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” (which worked wonderfully in different context for that song and album). Despite this, the message of both the song and the video is crystal clear: war is romanticized as a grand endeavor, yet the only ones who suffer as a result of it are everyday people, not the fat cats and politicians who cause and perpetuate it. Most telling is the line “The Golden Goose is on the loose and never out of season.” At the end of the day, mankind will do anything to turn a profit and enrich one’s self, even at the expense (or especially at the expense) of one another.
The specific phrase “2 minutes to midnight” has stark significance as well, being a direct reference to the Doomsday Clock, as published by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. This panel of experts began as the same team that worked on the Manhattan Project which ultimately brought us into the atomic age. They felt obligated to ensure there was an informed analysis of how close the world was to catastrophe once that genie was let out of the bottle, as the arms race that ensued and series of near misses throughout the Cold War brought the world to the brink of destruction multiple times.
Indeed, the title comes from the listed time in 1953, and was written in 1984. In ’84, the time on the Clock was 3 minutes to midnight. It bears mentioning that the current time as of this posting is once again 2 minutes to midnight – one more reason this timeless masterpiece remains ever relevant as an indictment of war for profit and carelessly destroying the only rock we have to live on.
Iron Maiden Are (at time of recording):
Bruce Dickinson – Vocals
Adrian Smith – Guitars
Dave Murray – Guitars
Steve Harris – Bass
Nicko McBrain – Drums