The Temptations ‎– Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)

Gordy ‎– G 7099
Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single

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A Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today) 4:04
B It's Summer 2:36

Compañías, etc.



(B) In Album "Psychedelic Shack" GS 947

Código de Barras y Otros Identificadores

  • Rights Society: BMI
  • Matrix / Runout (Label side A): N-K-N-760M02
  • Matrix / Runout (Label side B): N-K-T2/N-732S06
  • Matrix / Runout (A-side runout): Z4KM-2642-2 (stamped) N-K-N-760MO2 (etched)
  • Matrix / Runout (B-side runout): Z4KM-2639-1 B (stamped) N-K-T2 / N-732SO6 (etched)


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28 de septiembre de 2018
editado about 1 year ago

It’s always struck me the folks don’t consider soul or funk music to be socially relevant, when in fact it is. Take “Ball Of Confusion” written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, released by The Temptations in 1970, a song filled with cryptic lyrics, all set to a blistering hot number, filled with swagger and a solid groove.

As difficult and tuff as times were for those in the inner city during the 60’s and early 70’s, black artists always found a way of smiling through the pain with their music, especially with the Funk Brothers holding down the musical side of things. Oddly enough, like the song “Psychedelic Shack,” “Ball of Confusion” dives head long into mainly white psychedelia, proving that soul artists were capable of material with strong political, social and anti-war messages. Also contained within the song are letters of support of the American Indian Movement, damning crooked politicians (even black ones) and the results of drug abuse in the inner city. All of this was delivered and spirited together over an uptempo instrumental production where two drum tracks were used, one for the right and left channels of the stereo, filled multi layered and multi tracked wah-wah guitars, along with a more than heavy and ominous bassline. And all of this was spouted out with a rapid fire infectious delivery, making the song one of the greatest of all time … and never off the jukebox.

It made absolute sense for me to hear "Ball Of Confusion" for the first time as I was setting foot in Viet Nam, where in a world of green, every single one of us was totally confused about what we were doing there, what our objectives were and who's fault this debacle was. Regardless, it was songs like this that gave us a voice, if we couldn't complain to the higher powers, then we could certainly express our concern through song, and there were many such as this gem that gave us inspiration and the ability to put one foot in front of the other day in and day out, regardless of our race.

People movin' out, people movin' in. Referenced white-flight that was affecting inner cities, it also reflected the aspects of white gentrification.
Why, because of the color of their skin.
Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide. Meaning black can run but they can not hide.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Biblical reference to what is done by someone will be visited up them.
Vote for me and I'll set you free Politicians were always claiming that they’d set the brothers free, yet instead they only lined their own pockets, resulting in low black voter turnout for many generations.
Rap on, brother, rap on. In this case ‘Rap On’ reference the line above, meaning it’s all talk talk talk, nothing’s ever really taken care of.
Well, the only person talkin' 'bout love thy brother is the preacher.
And it seems nobody's interested in learning but the teacher. During the 60’s and 70’s, black educational success were some of the lowest. Especially with the idea of separate but equal schools, which just didn’t work.
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation,
humiliation, obligation to our nation. Considering ‘Obligation to our nation …” this was the middle of the War In Viet Nam, with brothers who weren’t in college as whites where having a disproportionately high rate of service. Other lines talk about the aggravation of demonstrations through determination leading to nothing.
Ball Of Confusion that's what the world is today (yeah, yeah)
The sale of pills is at an all time high. The black community was now medicating itself, though so was the rest of the country, using Quaaludes, Valium, Tuinals, Secinol and other barbiturates.
Young folks walkin' 'round with their heads in the sky. Folks walking around high, on Cloud 9.
Cities aflame in the summer time, and oh the beat goes on. Inner cities were regularly burning down from social eruptions, Jimi Hendrix wrote about Compton burning.
Eve of Destruction, tax deduction, ’Eve of Destruction’ reference the Barry McGuire song, ‘tax deduction’ represent the money people are able to make because the simply had money, and those of the inner city did not.
City inspectors, bill collectors, ’City Inspectors’ could close down an inner city house or corner store for simple violations driving business from the area, making things even more difficult.
Evolution, revolution, gun control, the sound of soul, While whites could have guns, the black man was not.
Shootin' rockets to the moon, kids growin' up too soon. The US had just landed on the moon, where all that money was spent while 14 year old black girls were having babies, growing up far too soon.
Politicians say more taxes will solve ev'rything, and the band played on.
Round and round and around we go, where the world's headed nobody knows.
Great googa mooga, can't you hear me talkin' to you, just a. ’Great Googa Mooga’ means Good Gracious … an expression of despair.
Ball of Confusion that's what the world is today. (yeah, yeah)
Fear in the air, tension ev'rywhere
Unemployment rising fast, the Beatle's new record's a gas, Black unemployment was at a historical high, the Beatles new record in 1970 was “Let It Be,” though at the time of writing this song, it would have been “Abbey Road,” and yes, even The Beatles crashed and burned.
and the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation, Indian Reservations were not safe, this expression is a tongue in cheek joke, the Indian movement formed in 1968 was in full swing, attempting to take back land stolen from them.
and the band played on This expression comes from the sinking of the Titanic, where the band could be heard playing on as the ship sank.
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors, mod clothes in demand,
population out of hand, suicide too many bills, hippies movin' to the hills
People all over the world are shouting end the war and the band played on.
Round and round and around we go, where the world's headed nobody knows.
Great googa mooga, can't you hear me talkin' to you, just a
Ball of Confusion that's what the world is today
Let me hear you, let me hear you, let me hear you
Ball Of Confusion that's what the world is today

Review by Jenell Kesler