Friday, June 4, 2010

Rockin' the Right?

One of my friends found this article on Fark today and sent it to me as "blog fodder." It boggled my mind. From a May 2006 issue of National Review, the top 50 conservative rock songs of all time. Most of these are great, great rock songs, but calling them "conservative" songs is more than a reach. To start with, most of the below artists were young and doing hard drugs when they wrote the songs. The list is below with my jackass comments under various songs. My info source for all comments is the bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia. You can read the justification for why each song is "conservative" here.

Regardless, rock and roll isn't about left or right, its about sticking it to THE MAN, whoever happens to be in power.

1. "Won’t Get Fooled Again," by The Who
John Entwistle and Keith Moon role over in their graves. Interesting how an American conservative magazine picks British bands for their top three. Per songwriter Pete Townshend, "The song was meant to let politicians and revolutionaries alike know that what lay in the centre of my life was not for sale, and could not be co-opted into any obvious cause. From 1971 - when I wrote "Won't Get Fooled Again" - to 1985, there was a transition in me from refusal to be co-opted by activists, to a refusal to be judged by people I found jaded and compliant in Thatcher's Britain." In other words, all politicians suck. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Amen brother.

2. "Taxman," by The Beatles
George Harrison wrote this song to protest the fact that the Beatles large earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson's Labour government. 95%? Is that right? Holy shit, no wonder Harrison was pissed off.

3. "Sympathy for the Devil," by The Rolling Stones
The cognitive dissonance hurts my brain. Per Allmusic, "The chorus -- sung with progressive vehemence as the song proceeds -- is the embodiment of Jagger's persona in his song: an evil figure who charms and refuses to disclose the true nature of his identity and intentions." Fuck sympathy! I don't need your fuckin' sympathy, man, I need my fucking johnson!

4. "Sweet Home Alabama," by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Ronnie Van Zandt, who supposedly supported Democrat Jimmy Carter's bid for presidency in 1976, co-wrote this song in response to "arrogant" Canadian Neil Young's songs on racism and segregation in the US south. The song ultimately concludes that the south has its share of problems, but its still a great place to live. Van Zandt and Young eventually became good friends. Listen to the following song:

Drive-By Truckers - Ronnie and Neil.mp3
Buy: Southern Rock Opera (2002)

Actually, while you're at it, listen to all of Southern Rock Opera.

5. "Wouldn’t It Be Nice," by The Beach Boys
A harmless 60s pop song about two kids who want to get married so they can have sex. [sarcasm]Very conservative.[/sarcasm] Haven't the Jonas Brothers covered this yet?

6. "Gloria," by U2
Its no secret that the members of U2 are devout Christians, and this song exemplifies their faith. U2, especially Bono, are very active with liberal causes like Amnesty International and Greenpeace. Yes, Christians can be liberals too. Will you come off it, Walter? You're not even fucking Jewish, man.

7. "Revolution," by The Beatles
The ultimate hippie roles over in his grave. The NR article calls this song "conservative" because John Lennon decries Chinese Chairman Mao and therefor the song is anti-Communist. I disagree. I think Lennon is decrying the violence and oppression associated with Mao and his Communist regime, and asking for violent revolutionaries to consider peaceful methods of social change. You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in 'Nam of course.

8. "Bodies," by The Sex Pistols
Sid Vicious roles over in his grave. This is one messed up song. It's interpreted as being anti-abortion, but it can also be interpreted as anti-women. Johnny "Rotten" Lydon is on record as being very pro-choice. Interestingly, this tracks follows "Anarchy in the UK" from the Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols album. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.

9. "Don’t Tread on Me," by Metallica
A song referencing the Revolutionary War era Gadsden Flag (right). Its never been preformed live because James Hetfield doesn't like it. Yeah. Roadie for Metallic. Speed of Sound Tour. Bunch of assholes.

10. "20th Century Man," by The Kinks
Conservatives like this song because the narrator complains about living in a "welfare state," but this song can also be interpreted as a man getting bogged down the demands and perils of modern life.

11. "The Trees," by Rush
Eh? Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this song pro-union? Or is the oak tree getting fucked over because the maple tree wants some sunlight? I'm so confused.

12. "Neighborhood Bully," by Bob Dylan
Apparently this is a pro-Israel song, but Bob is kind of all over the place in the lyrics. Like a lot of Dylan's music/poetry, I think its over-interpreted, and Bob is notorious for being vague and weird. This aggression will not stand, man.

13. "My City Was Gone," by The Pretenders
I should have used this song in my misery post about Akron, Ohio. Yes, the base line is the opening for Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Chrissie Hynde basically describes her sadness in the rampant development and industrialized that had turned the city of her youth into a polluted mess. Hynde is a well known environmentalist and animal rights activist and sued Limbaugh when he first used her song without licensing it. Now she has Limbaugh make a donation to PETA instead of paying royalty money. I'm not nuts about Limbaugh or PETA, but I do like Hynde's music.

14. "Right Here, Right Now," by Jesus Jones
A song about the end of the cold war. How is that conservative? Didn't the left want the cold war to end too?

15. "I Fought the Law," by The Crickets
How is law and order a conservative trait? Don't lefties respect the law too? I like the Clash version better.

16. "Get Over It," by The Eagles
This song is about taking personal responsibility for your actions, which, I think we call can agree, is a good idea. I hate the fucking Eagles, man

This list is starting to bore me so let's take a hippie interlude.

Todd Snider - Conservative Christian, Right Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males.mp3
Buy: East Nashville Skyline (2004)

From tree huggin’, peace lovin’, pot smokin’, barefootin’ folk-singin’ hippies like me.

I feel better already.

17. "Stay Together for the Kids," by Blink 182
I never thought that I would see "family values" and "Blink 182" in the same sentence. I guess you can see this song as pro-marriage, but I interpret it as not wanting the father to be a dead beat and for the parents to not fight in front of the kids.

18. Cult of Personality (live).mp3 - Living Colour
Buy: Say Anything Soundtrack (1990)
This song is supposedly conservative because they call out John Kennedy and well known Commies and Fascists, but I think any and all politicians, or THE MAN in general, can be lumped into this cult.

19. "Kicks," by Paul Revere and the Raiders
One of the first anti-drug songs. Because liberals are sooo pro-drug abuse. I guess some of them are pro-pot, but no one is pro-smack. Fortunately, I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug, uh, regimen to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber.

20. "Rock the Casbah," by The Clash
About an Arab sheikdom banning rock music, and subsequent uprising and rock and rolling by the populace. Banned by Clear Channel-owned radio stations after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. From Wikipedia: In one of the campfire scenes late in the 2007 documentary Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, a Granada friend states that Strummer wept when he heard that the phrase "Rock the Casbah" was written on an American bomb that was to be detonated on Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. The friend notes that he heard Strummer say, while crying, "Hey, man, I never could think that a song of mine could be written as a death symbol on a fucking American bomb." Look at our current situation with that camel fucker over in Iraq.

21. "Heroes," by David Bowie
How is every song that even mentions the Cold War deemed "conservative?"

22. "Red Barchetta," by Rush
This song is a futuristic story of a world where gasoline powered cars are prohibited. Lousy enviro-Nazis! It was based on a short story in an issue of Road and Track magazine. Come on, Rush is a Canadian prog-rock band. They are supposed to write trippy stuff like this!

23. "Brick," by Ben Folds Five
Another anti-abortion song, I get it. I guess "Give Me My Money Back, You Bitch" is not conservative enough.

24. "Der Kommissar," by After the Fire
The original German version is by Falco. Apparently it is about the misery of East German life. Communism is bad, I get it. Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

25. "The Battle of Evermore," by Led Zeppelin
Isn't this that song about The Lord of the Rings? According to NR, its another Cold War metaphor, although Robert Plant said is was inspired by Scottish Folklore. And, I imagine he was doing some mind-altering chemicals at the time (see #19). Interesting fact: Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention sings backup, the only song Led Zeppelin ever recorded with a guest vocalist.

26. "Capitalism," by Oingo Boingo
Pro-capitalism, I get it. Get off of your asses you lousy Commies! Or something...

27. "Obvious Song," by Joe Jackson
I don't really understand this song. On the one hand its calling out tree hugging hypocrites who drive SUVs, but on the other hand he says, "we starve all of the teachers and recruit more Marines," which sounds rightist to me. I'm confused.

28. "Janie’s Got a Gun," by Aerosmith
"How the right to bear arms can protect women from sexual predators." Uhhh....Janie will most likely end up in jail anyway. Mr. Treehorn treats objects like women, man.

29. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Iron Maiden
A heavy metal epic based on the poem of the same name by Samuel Taylor Coleridge which is thought to be an allegory for Christianity. Not sure how this is conservative either. Isn't metal the devil's music? This is the same band that released The Number of the Beast?

30. "You Can’t Be Too Strong," by Graham Parker
Another anti-abortion song. As you read or listen to the lyrics you feel empathy for the women who just went through the procedure. Be strong, sister.

31. "Small Town," by John Mellencamp
A song about growing up in small town, Midwest America. A song I can relate to. Mellencamp has written several liberal/progressive songs and in the 80s was a huge critic of Ronald Regan. He was also one of the first musicians to speak out against the Iraq war and made John McCain stop using his songs in the 2008 presidential campaign.

32. "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," by The Georgia Satellites
Another song about pre-martial sex. Sex before marriage is evil, I get it.

33. "You Can’t Always Get What You Want," by The Rolling Stones
Apparently this is a "conservative" song because of the lousy hippies demonstrating something or other. I don't get it. Or maybe its interpreted by conservatives to mean that the hippies can't get what they want, but the conservatives will give them what they "need." Or something. Each verse of this song is actually an amalgamation of the chaotic events that took place in the 60s.

I need another liberal break. This is actually the first song that came to mind when I was thinking about anti-conservative songs. Very powerful.

Sinead O'Connor - Black Boys on Mopeds.mp3
Buy: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990)

Margareth Thatcher on TV,
Shocked by the deaths that took place in Beijing.
It seems strange that she should be offended,
The same orders are given by her.

I once saw The Sadies cover this song. Awesome.

34. "Godzilla," by Blue öyster Cult
A lyrical homage to the fictional Japanese dinosaur. "History shows again and again, How nature points up the folly of men." Yes, a very "conservative" statement form the Cult.

35. "Who’ll Stop the Rain," by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Nothing says conservatism like an anti-Vietnam War song. Although it can be interpreted to be a general anti-government song. Wouldn't hold out much hope for the tape deck though. Or the Creedence.

36. "Government Cheese," by The Rainmakers
Hmmmm....cheese.... Growing up in Wisconsin, I saw a lot of government cheese. This song is anti-welfare state.

37. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," by The Band
Written by Canadian Robbie Robertson. This is a remarkable song about a Confederate soldier losing a brother in the US civil war. You can really empathize with the cold, starving soldier. Its more of a song about southern pride, than about its racist past. Again, see Southern Rock Opera (under #4 above).

38. "I Can’t Drive 55," by Sammy Hagar
A song inspired by a ticket Hagar received from an upstate New York cop for going 7 mph over the speed limit. The cop who gave him the ticket was probably solely responsible for launching Hagar into a higher tax bracket. According to NR, this song is Hagar's "objection to the nanny state." Never mind the fact that speed limits save lives.

39. "Property Line," by The Marshall Tucker Band
A song about life, love, and the pursuit of private property. I want someone to write "The Sub-Prime Mortgage Foreclosure Blues." Calling Todd Snider!

40. "Wake Up Little Susie," by The Everly Brothers
Another harmless 1950s pop song about a couple of high school kids who fall asleep during a boring movie and miss their curfew. Everyone is going to assume they were having sex (GASP!) since they were out so late. But they are innocent, I swear! Right....

41. "The Icicle Melts," by The Cranberries
Apparently this is another pro-life tune, but the line "I should not have read the papers today, 'Cause a child, child he was taken away" doesn't make sense in that context because who publishes abortions in the newspaper? It could be about child abuse, or child murder, or children as victims of war. Regardless, its a grim song. Eight-year-olds, Dude.

42. "Everybody’s a Victim," by The Proclaimers
The Scottish duo laments the fact the people are turning into lazy fucks, like Americans. Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?

43. "Wonderful," by Everclear
This song tells of a pending divorce as seen through the eyes of a child. Not sure how this song is "conservative" either. Maybe I should ask Newt "married three times" Gingrich.

44. "Two Sisters," by The Kinks
Two sisters. One is married. One is single. The married one is jealous of the single one's freedom. But then the married one looks and her kids and realizes everything that she has. Family values for everyone!

45. "Taxman, Mr. Thief," by Cheap Trick
No fair! This song is basically the same song as "Taxman" by the Beatles (see #2). It even gives a shout out to the Beatles.

46. "Wind of Change," by The Scorpions
This power ballad by the (West) German metal group basically celebrates political change and the fall of Communist Bloc throughout Eastern Europe. So, in other words, ANOTHER end-of-the-Cold-War song.

47. "One," by Creed
Conservatives can keep any and all songs by Creed.

48. "Why Don’t You Get a Job," by The Offspring
The melody of this song is so irritating. Basically, some chick/dude is mooching off of her/his boyfriend/girlfriend, and the narrator tells the boyfriend/girlfriend to tell the chick/dude to get a job. Very intellectual lyrics. According to NR this song is about welfare reform. Huh?

49. "Abortion," by Kid Rock
Conservatives can keep Kid Rock too.

50. Stand By Your Man.mp3 - Tammy Wynette
Buy: Tammy Wynette - 20 Greatest Hits (1996)
Hey, these are supposed to be rock songs, and this song is country all the way. If you are going to include this song, you have to include Lee Greenwood, Big and Rich, and Toby Keith. I could go on... Apparently there is a cover by Motorhead. Another family values song?

I leave you with one final anti-conservative song:

Drive-By Truckers - Puttin' People on the Moon.mp3
Buy: The Dirty South (2004)

Goddamned Reagan in the White House, and no one there gives a damn.

Yeah! One of my favorite Truckers tunes. Last time I saw them live they changed the lyrics to "Goddamned Bush was in the White House, and no one gave a damn."


Garrick said...

Awesome counterpoint.

NRO forgot a few though...

Ted "I won't eat it unless I killed it" Nugent's "Stranglehold" is an anthem to Grover Norquist's dream to shrink the federal government to the size where you could strangle it in a bathtub.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" The Beatles -- an anthem to the solid free enterprise and ethical work standards by which De Beers company has built their empire.

"Drug Train" Social Distortion -- railing against the ravages of Medicare and Medicaide on the free enterprise system, while also taking a shot against socialized Amtrak.

"House Rent Blues" John Lee Hooker -- take that Barney Frank, Fannie Mae and the sub-prime market! If you weren't poor you could have afforded that house!

simon2307 said...

"Regardless, rock and roll isn't about left or right, its about sticking it to THE MAN, whoever happens to be in power"

Amen to that.

Great post.

Stephen B. said...

Re: "The Trees"...if you read the song with the idea that Neal Peart is a huge Ayn Rand fan/libertarian, the song is a not-so-subtle satire of unions and communist ideas of artificial equality.

I can't believe you bought into it, Aimz! Getting liberals upset and have them write about it was the entire conceit of the NR article! ;)

Rockstar Aimz said...

Whatever "Stephen B." (if that is even your real name)! That post was fun to put together!

I have never read Ayn Rand. Should I? I also don't know much about Neal Peart, except that he kicks fucking ass on drums.

Zaxxon Buttphuck said...

There's not nearly enough The Big Lebowski references in there...

jackattackhays said...

"Conservatives can keep any and all songs by Creed."

Truer words were never spoken. Great post Aimz!