Meaning of Youth of the Nation by P.O.D. & The Story Behind

On March 5, 2001, a terrible thing happened at Santana High School in Santee, California. Fifteen-year-old student Charles Andrew Williams opened fire from his father’s weapon. The teenager killed two and wounded thirteen people.

The tragedy happened near the studio where members of the Christian rock band POD were working on a new album. Impressed by the incident, they composed the song Youth of the Nation.

The story of creation and the meaning of the song Youth of the Nation by POD

The composition was born thanks to the joint efforts of all four musicians: Sonny Sandoval, Marcos Curiel, Traa Daniels and Noa Bernardo Jr.

The authors recalled the background of the track and the work on the composition.

Marcos Curel said:

We rehearsed and recorded Satellite a couple of blocks from the school. One day, when we were driving to the studio, there were these rushing helicopters and cars. We didn’t really understand what was going on. When we arrived at the studio, one guy shared the news, saying something along the lines of: “The kid went and started shooting everyone.” We began to improvise, and the rhythm came naturally. Then wuv [drummer Bernardo] put a drum beat on it, and a song was born.

Here and below

Now listen to Sonny Sandoval:

When we actually recorded Satellite, we were two blocks away from the shooting at Santee. We just took a break, went out for coffee and saw fire trucks, a police unit, helicopters and news reporters. We understand something is happening. We turned on the TV, and there is a kid who blocked everyone in the school, and he shoots. We’re glued to the TV screen and we’re literally a couple of blocks away. It happens here, and we kind of have to compose music. […]

When it happened, we couldn’t figure out what was going on with these guys? After all, this is the youth of the nation. This gave impetus to the whole story.

Recording Youth of the Nation

Sandoval recalled working on the composition:

We had a name and music. It was the same buzzing sound, like the echo of that guitar. That’s exactly how we felt. And so we’re talking, and the title of Youth of the Nation came up, and then we kind of hummed some ideas for a chorus. However, we managed to write the words of the verses when we came to the studio and started recording the tracks.

But I knew that I would tell the story of what we experienced and what happened. So it’s more about the history of certain individuals or just this guy who seemed to be lost in this world. The text appeared in its entirety only when we were in the studio.

Release and achievements

In December 2001, Youth of the Nation was released as the second single from POD’s Satellite album. The track topped the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and peaked at number 28 in the Hot 100. The song also charted in a dozen other countries.

Video of Youth of the Nation by P.O.D.

The music video for POD was directed by Paul Fedor. The video was in great demand among MTV2 viewers.

Interesting Facts

  • The Youth of the Nation video features then-unknown actor Joel David Moore.
  • The management of Viacom and MTV forced to cut a scene with a girl sitting on the hood of a moving car from the music video.

Youth of the Nation Lyrics by P.O.D.

Last day of the rest of my life
I wish I would’ve known
‘Cause I would’ve kissed my mama goodbye
I didn’t tell her that I loved her and how much I care
Or thank my pops for all the talks
And all the wisdom he shared
Unaware, I just did what I always do
Everyday, the same routine
Before I skate off to school
But who knew that this day wasn’t like the rest
Instead of taking a test
I took two to the chest
Call me blind, but I didn’t see it coming
Everybody was running
But I couldn’t hear anything
Except gun blasts, it happened so fast
I didn’t really know this kid
He wasn’t part of the class
Maybe this kid was reaching out for love
Or maybe for a moment
He forgot who he was
Or maybe this kid just wanted to be hugged
Whatever it was
I know it’s because

We are, We are, the youth of the nation

Little Suzy, she was only twelve
She was given the world
With every chance to excel
Hang with the boys and hear the stories they tell
She might act kind of proud
But no respect for herself
She finds love in all the wrong places
The same situations
Just different faces
Changed up her pace since her daddy left her
Too bad he never told her
She deserved much better
Johnny boy always played the fool
He broke all the rules
So you would think he was cool
He was never really one of the guys
no matter how hard he tried
Often thought of suicide
It’s kind of hard when you ain’t got no friends
He put his life to an end
They might remember him then
You cross the line and there’s no turning back
Told the world how he felt
With the sound of a gat

We are, We are, the youth of the nation

Who’s to blame for the lives that tragedies claim
no matter what you say
It don’t take away the pain
That I feel inside, I’m tired of all the lies
Don’t nobody know why
It’s the blind leading the blind
I guess that’s the way the story goes
Will it ever make sense
Somebody’s got to know
There’s got to be more to life than this
There’s got to be more to everything
I thought exists

We are, We are, the youth of the nation

Lyrics of Youth of the Nation Alternate

The last day of the rest of my life
Wish I knew it
Because I would kiss my mother goodbye.
I didn’t tell her that I love and care about her
And did not thank his father for all the talk
And the wisdom he shared.
Not knowing, I just did the same thing I always do
Every day, the same routine
Before I left for school.
But who knew that this day would not be like the others.
Instead of an exam
I took two bullets in the chest.
Maybe I’m blind, but I didn’t foresee anything.
Everyone was running
But I didn’t hear anything
Other than the shots, everything happened so fast.
I didn’t even know this guy
He was from a different class.
Maybe he was looking for love
Or for a moment
Forgot who he is.
Or maybe the guy just needed a hug.
I know it happened because

We are, we are the youth of the nation

Little Susie, she was only twelve.
In this world she has
There was every chance to excel.
She hangs out with guys and listens to their stories.
Maybe she’s proud of herself
But he doesn’t respect himself.
She’s looking for love in the wrong places
The same situations
Just different faces.
She began to live differently since her father left her.
Too bad he didn’t tell her
That she deserves better.
Johnny boy always played the fool
Constantly broke the rules
So you might think he’s cool.
In fact, he was never one of those guys
No matter how hard he tries.
He often thought about suicide.
It’s hard to live when you don’t have friends.
He took his own life.
Perhaps then they remembered him.
You cross the line and there’s no turning back.
He told the world what he felt
The sound of a revolver.

We, we are the youth of the nation.

Who’s to blame for lives that end in tragedy?
Whatever you say
The pain won’t go away
That gnaws at me from the inside, I’m tired of lies.
Ain’t nobody know why
The blind lead the blind.
I think that’s life.
Will it ever make sense
Someone must know.
There must be more to life than this
There must be more to everything
I thought there was…

We are, we are the youth of the nation

Youth of the Nation song quote

I won’t say that this event inspired us, but it motivated us to write something.

Marcos Curiel

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