With the lyrics composed in 1956, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” was a very influential song during the black civil rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s. It was one of the protesters favorite song during their organized walk outs. Although the lyrics of the song is rather subtle, since it did not refer to any specific events or movements, the intention of the song was, nevertheless, apparent to the singers and listeners. The melody and the repetition of “eyes on the prize” were very effective in reminding the protesters to continue to pursuit their ultimate goals.
Pearl Jam’s “World Wide Suicide” (2006), on the other hand, is a song that was written to express the population’s anger toward the Iraq War. In contrast to the subtle “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” “World Wide Suicide” is a little more explicit in the message. There were many key words, such as “war,” “man-made hell,” and “President writes a check, while others pay” that were apparent to the audiences during war time. Moreover, compare to “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” “World Wide Suicide” is more of a song of complaint than a song of encouragement for the protesters.