Playing this song for the first time, my friend told me that Tupac Shakur sampled this song in the post-humous release of his song “Changes”. I’m starting to see a pattern of songs being heavily sampled. I never heard of Bruce Hornsby until now and his wikipedia page just further confused me. However I think I find his music style very appealing.
Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is” tells a familiar story of the ideals of generations clashing, particularly in the way that they (being the older generation) were so accepting and open to segregation and the persecution of black people. This is brought to a head in the middle of the song when a young person asks an old man about it, saying, “How can you stand to think that way? Did you really think about it before you made those rules?” To which the old man replies with the chorus and the title of the song: that’s just the way it is. It conveyed a somber and hopeless atmosphere to me that I couldn’t forget hours after listening to the song.
Bruce Hornsby and The Range seem to use this example as what can happen when people look away or accept injustice when confronted with it. It’s easy to simply walk away, shrugging as you say “That’s just the way it is.” Being involved and making a difference is difficult and time consuming, but then again, isn’t anything worth doing? I made this argument to my politically indignant friend after he said something similar regarding the electoral college.