Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs

The Rude Pundit has some quiet, subtle thoughts on a National Review list that believes it has identified 50 "conservative" rock songs. The entire list, with additional analysis, is available here.

This list is stunning, in a deluded, pathetic, completely deranged kind of way. The Napoleon Dynamite-like effort (awkward and earnest and explosively humiliating) recasts some of the canonical songs of the past 50 years (along with a lot of forgettable crap) into celebrations of right-wing mores. Here are some of my favorites:
5. "Wouldn’t It Be Nice," by The Beach Boys.
Pro-abstinence and pro-marriage: "Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true / Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do / We could be married / And then we’d be happy."

8. "Bodies," by The Sex Pistols.
Violent and vulgar, but also a searing anti-abortion anthem by the quintessential punk band: "It’s not an animal / It’s an abortion."

25. "The Battle of Evermore," by Led Zeppelin.
The lyrics are straight out of Robert Plant’s Middle Earth period — there are lines about "ring wraiths" and "magic runes" — but for a song released in 1971, it’s hard to miss the Cold War metaphor: "The tyrant’s face is red."

28. "Janie’s Got a Gun," by Aerosmith.
How the right to bear arms can protect women from sexual predators: "What did her daddy do? / It’s Janie’s last I.O.U. / She had to take him down easy / And put a bullet in his brain / She said ’cause nobody believes me / The man was such a sleaze / He ain’t never gonna be the same."

48. "Why Don’t You Get a Job," by The Offspring.
The lyrics aren’t exactly Shakespearean, but they’re refreshingly blunt and they capture a motive force behind welfare reform.
The Rude Pundit observes:
Because to come up with fifty songs, the readers and editors of the National Review had to neglect, almost entirely, the politics and lifestyles of nearly every single one of the music acts on the list, like, say U2, the Clash, and the Sex Pistols, just for kicks, or noted cross-dressing androgyne David Bowie. They had to twist the meaning of lyrics so that vague references to "freedom" all of a sudden became calls to a modified libertarianism (you know, no taxes, but also no fucking). And, of course, the mention of every fucking song they could find that seems to oppose abortion or alludes to the fall of Communism or doesn't like taxes. This leads them to have to include the Scorpions, Kid Rock, Rush, Creed, After the Fire, Sammy Hagar, and Jesus Jones in a great huge pile of suck.
There are a lot of games to be had with this. Maybe the Top 50 Conservative Moments in Celebrity Nipple Slippage, or Top 50 Most Conservative Moments in Interracial Porn.

But when you have raw material like this, the digs write themselves. The list is perfect comedy as it is. Click through and see what I mean.


Passion of the Weiss said...

Yeah, I saw that list too. Seriously, how pathetic must it been to have compiled it. They had to have known the Clash that were practically card carrying Marxist (and a lot of people actually thought they were). Rock the Casbah is a conservative song? Don't you just love the digs at Neil young's "Canadian Arrogance." Who the fuck are they...Though I will actually agree with them on Neighborhood Bully from Dylan's Infidels album. It's such a weird song and surprisingly conservative. It's things like this that make me embarrased to be a human being.

Flop said...

Holy crap! "Cult of Personality" is on there ... I wonder whom that might be about? Clearly, it's John F. Kennedy!

CrimeNotes said...

How about this one?

33. "You Can’t Always Get What You Want," by The Rolling Stones.
You can "[go] down to the demonstration" and vent your frustration, but you must understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect society — there are merely decent and free ones.

I always understood that this song was about needing a heroin fix and not being able to find your dealer.

Passion, it's things like this that make me think it's hilariously funny to be a human being.

Crunk Raconteur said...

This is one of the best afternoon time-wasters ever...

"Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult! A big green monster!

It also prompted a spirited debate at a work happy hour last night about whether or not "Wake Up Little Susie" is actually about teen sex.

But the absolute best is the fact that they have a DIFFERENT song by the Proclaimers! I'm just upset that they didn't include the lesser known second single from Chumbawumba, which I believe was called "The Left Can Bite Me"...

waterloo said...

William F. Buckley needs to make an appearance at the NR editorial offices and bitch slap the editor who OKed this story.

Here's another song that should be added to the list:

"The Immigrant Song," by Led Zeppelin.

"So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day
Despite of all your losing."

Obviously a reference to today's immigration debate; Paige and Plant coming down on the side of the Christian Right in exposing the ostensibly peaceful intentions of new immigrants.

The sheer idiocy of picking one song of a particular aritst's repetoire and labeling it "liberal" or "conservative" is astounding. Removing it from the context of the rest of the artist's oeuvre is like pulling individual chapters out of novels and assigning political meaning to them. "Well, the first chapter of 'Independence Day' was really a supply-side critique of real estate regulations ..."

And I love how the Ray-gun Cold War Victory story is once again bandied about. Clearly Jesus Jones, David Bowie, and every other artist who decried the Iron Curtain is conservative, because all liberals LOVED the Soviet Union.

The logic: Leftists are influenced by Marx, ergo they supported the Soviet Union, Communist China, etc. But, Marx is to the USSR as Edmund Burke is to contemporary conservatism.

PS -- "Masters of War" trumps "Neighborhood Bully."

CrimeNotes said...

"Well, the first chapter of 'Independence Day' was really a supply-side critique of real estate regulations ..."


Prior to this list, I'd never heard of "Neighborhood Bully." There's a lot of Dylan that I've intentionally avoided.

Passion of the Weiss said...

The Infidels album isn't bad per se, but it's just so're not really missing out on much...the picture on the back cover is Dylan on a hill overlooking Jerusalem...It's indescribably weird, particularly considering he was a born again like two years previous. The 80s was clearly not a good time for anyone unless your name was Billy (see Ocean, Idol and Dee Williams)

CrimeNotes said...

I have a listening philosophy for artists with longevity. I've avoided Dylan's post-Desire work and Neil's stuff between "Hawks and Doves" and "Ragged Glory" because I find their productive years so rewarding that I don't want their lesser periods to dilute my opinion. At some point I'll listen out of curiosity if nothing else.

I also try to limit myself to no more than one classic Stones album per year so that I have something to look forward to.