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May 25, 2006 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Republican-Approved Rock Music (NYT link). The National Review, the standard-bearing conservative rag founded by William F. Buckley (you know, Gore Vidal's good pal), has published a list of "Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs Of All Time" (NYT again -- not TNR). The explanations for the picks tend toward the obvious, if also occasionally nauseating. The top pick, and many of the others, are just this week's evidence of how irony is lost on much of conservative America.
posted by scatman (114 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
At least they didn't try to coerce the meaning of this song again.
posted by Mr. Six at 4:08 PM on May 25, 2006


This list appears to me to be dripping with irony.
posted by eatdonuts at 4:08 PM on May 25, 2006


"I Can't Drive 55," by Sammy Hagar.
A rocker's objection to the nanny state.


Awesome, Republicans are for the relaxing of drug laws?
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 4:08 PM on May 25, 2006


First the Colbert thing, now this? Are they REALLY this stupid, or is that just what they want us to think?
posted by 40 Watt at 4:10 PM on May 25, 2006


s/coerce/corrupt
posted by Mr. Six at 4:10 PM on May 25, 2006


Ah well. Whatever. Nevermind.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 4:11 PM on May 25, 2006


34. "Godzilla," by Blue Oyster Cult.
A 1977 classic about a big green monster — and more: "History shows again and again / How nature points up the folly of men."


Hmmm... this makes me think more of Katrina and global warming as pointing up "the folly of men" than anything else, if you take the song as political (which is isn't).
posted by BoringPostcards at 4:12 PM on May 25, 2006


Are you doing a vi substitution Mr. Six? You'll want to make it global.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 4:12 PM on May 25, 2006


Actually, the further down this list I get, the more I feel embarrassed for these guys. This is like listening to your high school stoner buddy explain the deep inner meaning to "The Dark Side of the Moon".
posted by 40 Watt at 4:14 PM on May 25, 2006


50. "Stand By Your Man," by Tammy Wynette.
Hillary trashed it — isn't that enough? If you're worried that Wynette's original is too country, then check out the cover version by Motörhead.


Even better, check out Lyle Lovett's. I'd think that one and Motorhead's would play well in Massachusetts.
posted by BoringPostcards at 4:16 PM on May 25, 2006


Unless I'm missing something, 100% of these artists are white.
posted by octothorpe at 4:17 PM on May 25, 2006


if you take the song as political (which is isn't).

Actually the original Japanese movie had an irate Godzilla running amuck after being awakened by nuclear testing (Japan was understandably concerned about atomic weapons in the '50's) and in later movies such as Godzilla vs. the Smog monster he continues to be sort of a lumbering prehistoric environmentalist, so there is a political link there.

Of course it is just the opposite of the typical conservative view.
posted by TedW at 4:17 PM on May 25, 2006


Unless I'm missing something, 100% of these artists are white.

Living Colour!
posted by 40 Watt at 4:21 PM on May 25, 2006


But the lyrics also display a Jane Jacobs sensibility against central planning and a conservative's dissatisfaction with rapid change: "I went back to Ohio / But my pretty countryside / Had been paved down the middle / By a government that had no pride."

God I hate those hippy dippy anti-development tree-hugger conservatives.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:21 PM on May 25, 2006


O.K. so this list is obviously tongue-in-cheek, so it's a bit boring playing "look at the clueless conservatives" with it. Anyone want to play what songs should they *really* have had on there?

Money seems an obvious missing item ("Money don't get everything it's true, What it don't get, I can't use").

Happiness is a Warm Gun

Fool on the Hill?

I Want to Be Evil

Someone to Watch Over You (that's for the NSA).

More?
posted by yoink at 4:28 PM on May 25, 2006


actually, i think the list serves as a useful cultural rosetta stone that explains the intellectual link between conservatism and christian fundamentalism...
posted by troybob at 4:33 PM on May 25, 2006


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."

And Chris de Burgh's 'Lady In Red' was clearly pro communist anthem written to subvert yuppies in the '80's.
posted by Kronoss at 4:34 PM on May 25, 2006


Doesn't Sweet Home Alabama have a line about backing the pro-segregation governor?
posted by mathowie at 4:36 PM on May 25, 2006


Kind of a self-plug, but we're taking ideas for the best libertarian songs at Hammer of Truth. We'll expand it to a poll a la Bloggies style categorization once we get a healthy list (currently 60 comments).

/plug
posted by StephenV at 4:37 PM on May 25, 2006


Lawyers, Guns and Money?
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:38 PM on May 25, 2006


In Birmingham they love the governor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth


Yep, Wallace was who I was thinking of, who said "I say: segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

And I guess what Nixon did is totally cool with Skynard.
posted by mathowie at 4:40 PM on May 25, 2006


and Ayn Ra-a-and
Ayn Rand so far a-way-ay-ay
couldn't get away
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:43 PM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]


I'm stunned at the idea that this is a serious list. "I Fought the Law" is a "law-and-order classic"? Really? "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" is more about blue balls than affirming "old-time sexual mores." Biggest stretch: extending the link "the tyrant's face is red" from Led Zeppelin's "The Battle of Evermore" to a Cold War metaphor.

They got the title of the #1 pick wrong. It's really "Fool me once, shame on--shame on you...Fool me--you can't get fooled again."

And what's with all the em dashes instead of hyphens?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:45 PM on May 25, 2006


They should have included "One In A Million," Axl Rose's right-wing indictment of blacks, Arabs and people with AIDS...oh, and "Bush Was Right."
posted by johngoren at 4:46 PM on May 25, 2006


Just to revise a little bit:

In Birmingham they love the governor
BOO HOO HOO
Now we all did what we could do


As in, Skynyrd weren't fans of Wallace. At least that's how I always interpreted it.

Wikipedia, of course, has a few more notes on this.
posted by sellout at 4:48 PM on May 25, 2006


This list confirms we have all the good songs.

You can have your 'Neighbourhood bully' -- we'll keep "It ain't me, babe" (the evils of nationalism), 'John Brown' (war), "The lonesome death of Hattie Carroll", "Hurricane"...
posted by docgonzo at 4:48 PM on May 25, 2006


Living Colour!

Missed them in the list. They think that was a conservative song because there are no right-wing cults of personality? The mind boggles.
posted by octothorpe at 4:49 PM on May 25, 2006


Anyone want to play what songs should they *really* have had on there?

Elvis Costello medley:
Beyond Belief
Black And White World
Imagination Is A Powerful Deceiver
Lip Service
Man Out Of Time
Poor Napoleon

Elvis Costello albums:
Armed Forces
King Of America
Taking Liberties
posted by Superfrankenstein at 4:50 PM on May 25, 2006


6. "Gloria," by U2.
Just because a rock song is about faith doesn't mean that it's conservative. But what about a rock song that's about faith and whose chorus is in Latin? That's beautifully reactionary: "Gloria / In te domine / Gloria / Exultate."


WTF?

Plus, real conservatives hate catholics.
posted by delmoi at 4:50 PM on May 25, 2006


The way a person interprets a work of art says more about that person than it says about the art.

If I may engage in the same kind of selective interpretation, allow me to present the top five liberal songs of all time:

1. "Won't Get Fooled Again," by The Who

Who are the people that we're afraid are going to fool us? They are us. In a follow up to the song "My Generation," The Who continue to deftly play with the idea that we are going to grow up to turn into the very people we despise in our youth. Far from being an endorsement of conservatism, this song points out the tragedy of the death of youthful idealism - a common theme for The Who. The last line of the song ("Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss") suggests that as long as the revolution just replaces the people in the certain positions instead of changing the entire system, "the boss" will always be there keeping you down. Thus, when one launches a revolution, one really needs to destroy the system entirely and replace it with something else. A very Jarry-esque idea.

2. "Taxman" by the Beatles

The conservative movement isn't the only movement that thinks unexplained taxation is wrong. However, this is actually a song about government accountability. Look at the lyrics "Don't ask me what I want it for/ If you don't want to pay some more." It isn't just that the government is over taxing Everyman, it is that they are not spending it on anything worthwhile - for example, aid to Bangladesh.

3. "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones

Who is the devil? 'Please allow me to introduce myself/I'm a man of wealth and taste.' The devil is a textbook conservative. He was a ranking officer in the German army during WWII ("I rode a tank/Held a generals rank/When the blitzkrieg raged"). A nice little Godwinism.

4. "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

An expression of contentment that Nixon resigned from office ("Now Watergate does not bother me") could hardly be called conservative. ;)

5. "Would It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys

Is there anything more revolutionary than a desire to throw off the rules imposed on a guy by his parents? The protagonist of this classic is dreaming of freedom to marry the person he loves. What he is waiting for isn't necessarily sex, as some might think, but the ability to be with his true love forever. Indeed, imagine that this is a teenage post-love making song and the lyrics still resonate This is nothing less than a desire to escape from the clutches of a conservative father and live a life of liberal wedded bliss.

---

Anyhow, if I stretched my interpretation, I could make each of these songs a Fascist anthem, a communist anthem, or any other anthem you might request.

If a conversative listened to these songs and saw a conservative message in them, good for him. I suspect that, however, that National Review's article is at least partially tongue in cheek. If we choose to see this as 100% serious, maybe it is we lefties that don't always have a sense of irony.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:51 PM on May 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


The National Review's Greatest Hits

It was the culmination of a weekend of demonstrations against the admission of a Negro.... [T]he nation cannot get away with feigning surprise at the fact that... the demonstration became ugly and uncontrolled. For in defiance of constitutional practice, with a total disregard of custom and tradition, the Supreme Court a year ago illegalized a whole set of deeply-rooted folkways and mores...

The statute... a law the Reconstruction Congress enacted in 1871.... [T]he President can send in troops... only when... the local authorities must have shown themselves either unable or unwilling to deal with the situation. Yet the authorities in Birmingham [police chief "Bull" Connor and Governor George Wallace] apparently did have the matter under control before Kennedy pushed the button...

[T]he legality of the 14th amendment.... The argument that it was improperly ratified is historically irrefragable...

Martin Luther King will never rouse a rabble; in fact, I doubt very much if he could keep a rabble awake... past its bedtime...

Martin Luther King... [his] lecture... delivered with all the force and fervor of the five-year-old who nightly recites: "Our Father, Who art in New Haven, Harold be Thy name"...

The central question... is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes.... National Review believes that the South's premises are correct...

The axiom... was Universal Suffrage. Everyone in America is entitled to the vote.... That, of course, is demagogy.... The great majority of the Negroes of the South who do not vote do not care to vote, and would not know for what to vote if they could...

posted by empath at 4:58 PM on May 25, 2006


"One In A Million," Axl Rose's right-wing indictment of blacks, Arabs and people with AIDS.

Some say I'm crazy
I guess I'll always be
But it's been such a long time
Since I knew right from wrong

It's all the means to an end, I,
I keep on movin' along

Chorus:
You're one in a million
Yeah, that's what you are
You're one in a million, babe
You are a shooting star
Maybe someday we'll see you
Before you make us cry
You know we tried to reach you
But you were much too high


(maybe not an indictment of what you think? also, it came out on Geffen Records)
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2006


Anyone want to play what songs should they *really* have had on there?

I can't believe "Dogs of War" is not on the list.

Dogs of war and men of hate
With no cause, we don't discriminate
Discovery is to be disowned
Our currency is flesh and bone
Hell opened up and put on sale
Gather 'round and haggle
For hard cash, we will lie and deceive
Even our masters don't know the webs we weave

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world

Invisible transfers, long distance calls,
Hollow laughter in marble halls
Steps have been taken, a silent uproar
Has unleashed the dogs of war
You can't stop what has begun
Signed, sealed, they deliver oblivion
We all have a dark side, to say the least
And dealing in death is the nature of the beast

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world

The dogs of war don't negotiate
The dogs of war won't capitulate,
They will take and you will give,
And you must die so that they may live
You can knock at any door,
But wherever you go, you know they've been there before
Well winners can lose and things can get strained
But whatever you change, you know the dogs remain.

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world
posted by Mr_Zero at 5:03 PM on May 25, 2006


Superfrankenstein, good picks, but you forgot "Oliver's Army":

Call careers information
Have you got yourself an occupation?
Oliver's army is here to stay
Oliver's army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
Than here today
There was a checkpoint Charlie
He didn't crack a smile
But it's no laughing party
When you've been on the murder mile
Only takes one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger


Replace Oliver with George, of course.

And why does this list remind me of two movie moments, the first from Annie Hall where Woodie Allen finds a copy of The National Review in Diane Keaton's apartment and she tells him she's going to a rock concert, and he asks "With who? William F. Buckley?" The other, from Austin Powers: "I'm cool. I'm with it. Tucka-tucka-tucka-tucka."
posted by bardic at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2006


Drinkin' beer in the hot sun
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

I needed sex and I got mine
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

The law don't mean shit if you've got the right friends
That's how this country's run
Twinkies are the best friend I've ever had
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

I blew George & Harvey's brains out with my six-gun
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

Gonna write my book and make a million
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

I'm the new folk hero of the Ku Klux Klan
My cop friends think that's fine
You can get away with murder if you've got a badge
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

I am the law
So I won
posted by IronLizard at 5:19 PM on May 25, 2006


(Sorry Republicans--if the Clash covered it, it ain't yours, evar.)
posted by bardic at 5:22 PM on May 25, 2006


As a born and bred hoosier, what is up with the John Mellencamp callout at #31 with "Small Town" off an album written in protest against the Reagan-era foreclosures of family farms? I had thought that Mellencamp, like the Dixie Chicks was person non grata after his revival of a depression-era protest tune with new lyrics, and his participation in the 2004 "Vote for Change" campaign.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:28 PM on May 25, 2006


8. "Bodies," by The Sex Pistols.
Violent and vulgar, but also a searing anti—abortion anthem by the quintessential punk band


Too bad Johnny Rotten has said, repeatedly, that the song is not anti-abortion. I guess the personal interpretation of some proto-fascist ubermensch carries more weight.
posted by oncogenesis at 5:29 PM on May 25, 2006


Fuck rock.
posted by HTuttle at 5:30 PM on May 25, 2006


Never has a music genre made people more stupid and closed-minded.
posted by HTuttle at 5:31 PM on May 25, 2006


I think we're all missing A Flock of Seagulls:

Iran, Iran so far away...
posted by generichuman at 5:32 PM on May 25, 2006


Hehe. Mellencamp tried to mend fences with the Right after the occupation of Iraq began, sort of.
posted by bardic at 5:35 PM on May 25, 2006


When listing Rebublican Anthems, don't forget

Rock the Casbah!

It's the End of the World as We Know It

99 Red Balloons

Chain Gang

Heat Wave

And for the people of New Orleans, anything by Muddy Waters
posted by Megafly at 5:35 PM on May 25, 2006


Shooting fish in a barrel though it may be, one could mention Elvis Costello's Two Little Hitlers as well.
posted by y2karl at 5:36 PM on May 25, 2006


John J. Miller needs to get over the (expired) notion that Republicans still stand for limited government.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:38 PM on May 25, 2006


Htuttle: Your favorite band sucks.
posted by IronLizard at 6:04 PM on May 25, 2006


Don't wanna be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sounds of hysteria?
The subliminal mind shit nigger America.

Welcome a new kind of tension.
All across the alienation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones meant to follow. for thats enough to argue.

Well maybe I'm the shitty American.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
fuck my cock
We're not the ones meant to follow.
For thats enough to argue.

Don't wanna be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria,
Is calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
for that's enough to argue.
posted by IronLizard at 6:06 PM on May 25, 2006


They forgot Life's Been Good by Joe Walsh.
posted by lilboo at 6:08 PM on May 25, 2006


So many Pink Floyd songs are grim satires of conservative mentality . . . let's not forget Dogs, from the oft-neglected Animals . . .
posted by treepour at 6:12 PM on May 25, 2006


"Sympathy for the Devil", huh. Yeah not so much. They shoulda gone with "Under My Thumb." Then I would've gotten to really break out the popcorn.
posted by furiousthought at 6:41 PM on May 25, 2006


What a bunch of maroons
posted by caddis at 6:56 PM on May 25, 2006


No "Money"? No "Masters of War"? No "Imperial March"?

Some list.
posted by edverb at 7:06 PM on May 25, 2006


Injustice for All, anyone?

I smell a trend here. Which banks are rock and roll bands, rock and roll that is good for conservatives. . .

Here is a fun bit of trivia. The first song to win in the rock and roll category at the Grammies: King of the Road. And this was in the mid-60s, not as though they didn't have time to figure out what rock and roll was.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:07 PM on May 25, 2006


Daddy sits on the front porch swinging
Looking out on a vacant field
Used to be filled with burley t'bacca
Now he knows it never will
My brother found work in Indiana
Sisters a nurse at the old folks home
Mama's still cooking too much for supper
And me I’ve been a long time gone

Been a long time gone
No, I ain't hoed a row since I don't know when
Long time gone
And it ain't coming back again

Deliah plays that ol' church pian'a
Sitting out on her daddy’s farm
She always thought that we'd be together
Lord I never meant to do her harm
Said she could hear me singin' in the choir
Me, I heard another song
I caught wind and hit the road runnin'
And Lord, I've been a long time gone

Been a long time gone
Lord, I ain't had a prayer since I don't know when
Long time gone
And it ain't comin' back again

Now me, I went to Nashville,
Tryin' to beat the big deal
Playin' down on Broadway
Gettin' there the hard way
Living from a tip jar
Sleeping in my car
Hocking my guitar
Yeah I’m gonna be a star

Now, me and Deliah singing every Sunday
Watching the children and the garden grow
We listen to the radio to hear what's cookin’
But the music ain't got no soul
Now they sound tired but they don't sound Haggard
They got money but they don't have Cash
They got Junior but they don't have Hank
I think, I think, I think

The rest is a long time gone
No, I ain't hit the roof since I don’t know when
Long time gone
And it ain't coming back
I said a long time gone
No, I ain't honked the horn since I don’t know when
Long time gone
And it ain't coming back again

Dixie Chicks - Long Time Gone
posted by ZachsMind at 7:10 PM on May 25, 2006


Don't ya think that The Trees is legitimately a conservative (libertarian version) song? Peart's fascination with Rand is no supposition, it's documented and well-known fact. So a number of the more overt Objectivist styled songs from Rush probably count.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:26 PM on May 25, 2006


Reagan Republicans were relatively libertarian. Not so W Republicans.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:46 PM on May 25, 2006


let's not forget Dogs, from the oft-neglected Animals

Or Pigs, from the same album.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:47 PM on May 25, 2006


Critic/activist/hip-hop historian Jeff 'Can't Stop Won't Stop' Chang responds.
posted by box at 8:06 PM on May 25, 2006


Grandpa pissed his pants again
He don't give a damn
Brother Billy has both guns drawn
He ain't been right since Vietnam

"Sweet home Alabama"
Play that dead band's song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long

Daddy's doing Sister Sally
Grandma's dying of cancer now
The cattle all have brucellosis
We'll get through somehow

"Sweet home Alabama"
Play that dead band's song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long

I'm going down to the Dew Drop Inn
See if I can drink enough
There ain't much to country living
Sweat, piss, jizz and blood

"Sweet home Alabama"
Play that dead band's song
Turn those speakers up full blast
Play it all night long

-Warren Zevon

I love the fact that he's got Dylan on there.
I was listening to 'The Times They Are A-Changin' today, and goddamn.
Just goddamn.
"With God on Our Side"?
"Only a Pawn in Their Game"?
What guts.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:18 PM on May 25, 2006


actually, i think the list serves as a useful cultural rosetta stone that explains the intellectual link between conservatism and christian fundamentalism...

As in, conservatives no more understand nor are bound to the liturgical texts they profess guide them than they apparently understand many of these lyrics or songs?
posted by namespan at 8:30 PM on May 25, 2006


Nothing by Bob Roberts?
posted by AJaffe at 8:38 PM on May 25, 2006


The Rude Pundit on the list:
"... 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... It all starts to seem like the soundtrack to the lamest orgy ever..."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:40 PM on May 25, 2006


Ethereal Bligh: sure, the Rush thing makes sense. They also got the Dylan song right. Maybe a few others.

mathowie: I always thought LS was saying "yeah, Nixon sucked; don't blame me: I voted for Wallace."

Crazy, huh?

oncogenesis: If Rotten/Lydon says Bodies is not anti-abortion, well, I don't believe him. Wasn't there a similar sentiment in a PiL song many years later?
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:01 PM on May 25, 2006


Jeff Chang's indictment is good, but The Rude Pundit's excoriation is priceless.
posted by scatman at 9:10 PM on May 25, 2006


Alvy Ampersand: Dylan's had a long career.
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:12 PM on May 25, 2006


hackly_fracture: Guh?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:32 PM on May 25, 2006


From the NYT link:

"…revolutions are often failures, like the French Revolution leading to Napoleon. The song is skeptical about revolutionary idealism in the end, and that's a very conservative idea."

The reality of American conservatism is the control of power. They belittle revolution, saying it will never work anyway, which is convenient because it’s a good excuse for everybody letting them stay in control.

Also…conservatives just don’t have a fucking clue when it comes to art. This made me wretch:

(#3: Sympathy for the Devil)…Don't be misled by the title; this song is "The Screwtape Letters" of rock. The devil is a tempter who leans hard on moral relativism — he will try to make you think that "every cop is a criminal / And all the sinners saints."

If there were ever an anti-establishment song, this is it.

It’s more proof of the right’s stupid, low-brow, shallow interpretation of the world and, as usual, it is one hundred fucking percent wrong.
posted by rougy at 9:52 PM on May 25, 2006


21. "Heroes," by David Bowie.
A Cold War love song about a man and a woman divided by the Berlin Wall. No moral equivalence here: "I can remember / Standing / By the wall / And the guns / Shot above our heads / And we kissed / As though nothing could fall / And the shame / Was on the other side / Oh we can beat them / For ever and ever."


If I sat next to this mother fucker in a bar, I'd punch him in the face.
posted by rougy at 9:55 PM on May 25, 2006


Sorry, 'Guh?' isn't a very good response.

While 'Neighborhood Bully' is, as you said, one of the few songs on that list that would actually fit the criteria, I was amused by how druggy, buncha kids from a buncha women Dylan's inclusion perfectly illustrated the Rude Pundit excerpt kirkarcha linked to.

Also, considering the fact that the guy still seems pissed off at the left (Back when they were actually a productive force for good!) for trying to co-opt him, I can only imagine how he'd feel about being painted with the Con brush.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:58 PM on May 25, 2006


All they did was cherry-pick lyrics that fit their pre-determined agenda, and then make the invalid claim that the song was in support of that agenda.

Sound familiar?
posted by rougy at 10:58 PM on May 25, 2006


Nice links box and kirkaracha.

23. "Brick," by Ben Folds Five.
You guys can have this.


Perfect. Add Dave Matthews--you neo-Domenech's can have him to.
posted by bardic at 11:13 PM on May 25, 2006


29. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Iron Maiden.
A heavy—metal classic inspired by a literary classic. How many other rock songs quote directly from Samuel Taylor Coleridge?


What the fuck?
posted by papakwanz at 11:34 PM on May 25, 2006


gg allin did a mean Biographia Literaria.
posted by bardic at 11:38 PM on May 25, 2006


How about Kill The Poor by the Dead Kennedys?

This list doesn't surprise me. Without a powerful capacity for self-delusion, there would be no harmony between the pampered scum at the top and the salt o'the earth neanderthals at the bottom of the conservo clusterfuck.
posted by evil holiday magic at 12:28 AM on May 26, 2006


I would dare them to go on the road and defend their conclusions. Talk about never-never land....

The Heroes one especially bugged me - one of my favorite songs. It embodies the love of my life. It's not a lament against communism, it's about the assholes in control who won't let us love each other.

I saw up above a reference to Pink Floyd's Animals - one of my favorite albums ever.
posted by rougy at 12:40 AM on May 26, 2006


Has anybody else noticed that HTuttle loves to jump into music discussions to trash rocknroll and then leave? What do you enjoy HTuttle? Post links!
posted by elr at 1:21 AM on May 26, 2006


"The conservative movement is full of disillusioned revolutionaries; this could be their theme song, an oath that swears off naive idealism once and for all."

Okay, this bugs me a little bit. First of all, I'm personally insulted because I happen to have never been afflicted with naive idealism and, mysteriously, I'm nevertheless not a conservative.

This gives you some insight into why conservatives tend to think they're the "smart" ones, though. It's that smug realism (which, I confess, I also tend to suffer from—even though, mysteriously, I'm not a conservative).

Of course, the thing is, I'm a liberal. I'll self-identify as a progressive from time to time because on a variety of issues my views happen to be the same as (leftist) progressive views and not the same as (centrist) liberal views. But, mostly, I'm a liberal. What does that mean?

Well, let's look for a moment at what it doesn't. And let's see who has the strongest claim to realism. A conservative thinks that the recent past is ideal (not necesarrily the status quo because they typically rue the things are nowadaus as everything goess to hell in a handbasket). They prefer the Way Things Were. They're idealists.

Progressives think in terms of a postivist march of history from ignorance to enlightment and in general believe that pretty much everything is better if the old ways are abandoned and new, smarter and more just, ways are abandoned. They are idealists about the future. It's really sort of ironic and odd that today's progressives have a positivist outlook when they also have a much stronger propensity to be postmodern at the same time.

If we look at liberalism, then I cannot claim that there's not a whole hell of a lot of idealism at its core. And I'm also going to accuse progressivism and conservativism of utopianism and I don't think I can avoid that accusation against liberalism, either. Even so, there seems to me to be something terribly (and I choose that adjective with great care) simplistic and wrong about a utopianism of the recent idealised past When People Did Things The Right Way or the utopianism of a near future When People Will Do Things The Right Way.

And, as it happens, although those are really two among the most dominant ideologies there are, it's always seemed to me that they're not political ideologies at all—they're personal temperments. Sensibilities. They're both personality types with an affinity to be disatisfied with the status quo and the belief that it's the opposing directional sensibility (forward or back) that is the cause of everything That Is Currently Wrong. If we can only overcome our enemies, they say, then we'll achieve our utopia.

Liberalism isn't so two-dimensionally focused. Nor, in fact, is it as Manichean and paranoid. Honestly, with that "realism" thing in mind, a better description of my political philosophy is a pragmatic liberalism. The liberalism provides the ethical worldview, and the pragmatism provides the approach at social engineering.

Back to the supposed conservativism of this song... well, hmm, the new boss is like the old boss and we won't be fooled again. So revolutions don't work because they replace corrupt leaders with more corrupt leaders. And this is a good argument to support the current corrupt leaders?

Yes, this is a well though out ideology.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:06 AM on May 26, 2006


"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.
Ooooookaaaayyy.... You know, most of the entries on this list could be part of a dictionary definition of tendentious. And I notice he skips over the lines about being abused at the demonstration, and needing to shout to avoid "Blowing a 50 amp fuse".
"Red Barchetta," by Rush.
In a time of "the Motor Law," presumably legislated by green extremists, the singer describes family reunion and the thrill of driving a fast car — an act that is his "weekly crime."
What. The. Fuck. Seriously, there's a tenuous reading of songs and then there's just making shit up. You can make an argument that the car in this case is representing personal freedom, since it's an individual mode of transport, but where in the name of all that's holy do you get environmental extremists from this song?
"Revolution," by The Beatles.
"You say you want a revolution / Well you know / We all want to change the world . . . Don't you know you can count me out?" What's more, Communism isn't even cool: "If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao / You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow." (Someone tell the Che Guevara crowd.)
Did I say tendentious earlier? I think I must have meant 'full of shit'.
"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.
I'm beginning to suspect this article actually came from an alternate universe. Does this guy have some sort of "They Live" headset where he can see and hear the secret conservative messages in everything? Is it a magic decoder ring? I need to know.
posted by Grimgrin at 2:51 AM on May 26, 2006


Generals gathered in their masses,
just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
sorcerers of death's construction.
In the fields the bodies burning,
as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
poisoning their brainwashed minds.
Oh lord, yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away.
They only started the war.
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor, yeah.

Time will tell on their power minds,
making war just for fun.
Treating people just like pawns in chess,
wait till their judgement day comes, yeah.

Now in darkness world stops turning,
ashes where the bodies burning.
No more War Pigs have the power,
Hand of God has struck the hour.
Day of judgement, God is calling,
on their knees the war pigs crawling.
Begging mercies for their sins,
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings.
Oh lord, yeah!
--Black Sabbath, War Pigs
posted by psmealey at 4:01 AM on May 26, 2006


ethereal bligh, the liberal realist philosophy you call for sounds similar to that of the pragmatics of Richard Rorty and Cornel West. Well said. Thanks.

And as far as the Top 50 rockin' conservatives list: What, no Nugent? Glaring oversight.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:37 AM on May 26, 2006


Alvy Ampersand wrote "I was listening to 'The Times They Are A-Changin' today, and goddamn.
"Just goddamn.
""With God on Our Side"?
""Only a Pawn in Their Game"?
"What guts."


Alvy - Heard Dylan play Masters of War live just before the '04 elections. Blew me the hell away. I've heard the song so many times... but there, with him and that weird raspy growling wheeze he sings in now, with the hopes and expectations and fears about the election coming up... it was like he just wrote it, and we were hearing it for the first time - you know? Crazy. The really great ones stay with you like that. You hear it that long after it was written, and it still resonates.

I think Dylan tries to stand on the side of humanity, and that side is quite often neither left, right or middle.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:48 AM on May 26, 2006


Check out this poll at the bottom of This Page

It asks people if ten of the songs on the list are conservative.

I didn't answer each question, but the majority I asked agreed with me and said the songs were not conservative.

Just goes to show that the face of the Big Conservative Lie is about to meet Mr. Pavement.
posted by rougy at 5:56 AM on May 26, 2006


Frankly, I was expecting more Rush on this list. They're the smartest genuinely conservative rock outfit I know, and they've been cranking stuff out for long enough that many of their 70's fans are now The Man.
posted by chicobangs at 6:17 AM on May 26, 2006


If Rotten/Lydon says Bodies is not anti-abortion, well, I don't believe him. Wasn't there a similar sentiment in a PiL song many years later?
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:01 PM PST on May 25 [+fave] [!]


Yep,, in the PiL song "The Body"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:17 AM on May 26, 2006


"Bodies" is anti-everything. If you're identifying your political philosophy by tying it to that song, then you're in serious trouble.

I agree. This has to be a joke.
posted by chicobangs at 6:21 AM on May 26, 2006


Taxman
Conservatives aren't against taxes anymore. They just call them deficits now.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:28 AM on May 26, 2006


"Red Barchetta" always reminded me of the Tripods.

what is up with the John Mellencamp callout at #31 with 'Small Town' off an album written in protest against the Reagan-era foreclosures of family farms?

He co-founded Farm Aid. Very conservative.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:35 AM on May 26, 2006


If Rotten/Lydon says Bodies is not anti-abortion

I think you can generally be against the idea of having an abortion (particularly in the case where it's used as an after the fact correction for irresponsiblity of lack good judgment) without wanting to outlaw it for everyone. This is not an uncommon position for a liberals to have.

That said, some of these are utterly hilarious. Not how "My City was Gone" was used metaphorically (when the literal meaning of the song is clearly an anti-business) to be considered "conservative". I have often wondered who owns the rights of that song to let Pig Boy use it for his radio broadcasts. It's hard to imagine Chrissie Hynde wanting money from that lot.
posted by psmealey at 6:37 AM on May 26, 2006


18. "Cult of Personality," by Living Colour.
A hard—rocking critique of state power, whacking Mussolini, Stalin, and even JFK: "I exploit you, still you love me / I tell you one and one makes three / I'm the cult of personality."


How is it that Bush and the "movement conservatives" don't fit this song's critiques to a "t"?
posted by psmealey at 6:45 AM on May 26, 2006


psmealey: psychotic break. Utter inability to recognize irony or reflect on self.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:48 AM on May 26, 2006


28. "Janie's Got a Gun," by Aerosmith.
How the right to bear arms can protect women from sexual predators


Uh, it didn't so much protect her as she used it to blow his brains out after the abuse had already happened. Or maybe, she made the whole thing up?
posted by psmealey at 6:49 AM on May 26, 2006


Are you doing a vi substitution Mr. Six? You'll want to make it global.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket


GOP# vi policy.conf
GOP# %s/coerce/corrupt/g

I think maybe Mr. Six was making a perl reference instead? It's all about which file anyway.
posted by nofundy at 7:07 AM on May 26, 2006


This reminds me... I never supported Bush, but there was a point early in 2000 where I thought that it wouldn't be all that bad if he won. Not my preferred outcome, but he had some good rhetoric, and so on. And then I heard a news report on MPR about a Bush rally where they were playing "Won't Get Fooled Again" with the "meet the new boss; the same as the old boss" line edited out. I guess that's a little thing, but it started kicking off all sorts of oh-shit-reality-warping-motherfuckers alarms in my head.
posted by COBRA! at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2006


Ah, the Pretenders thing is only in there 'cause it's the R Limbaugh theme song, or used to be, anyway.
posted by hackly_fracture at 7:37 AM on May 26, 2006


Is "Animals" really considered a neglected Floyd album? I always thought it was probably #4 in terms of popularity (after DSotM, The Wall, and Wish You Were Here), and it definitely has the most notoriously recognizable album cover. It's really one of my favorites, Roger Waters at his most miserable, bitter, misanthropic best.
posted by dvdgee at 7:44 AM on May 26, 2006


Very cool, caution live frogs, and if 'Standing on the side of humanity' isn't a lyric, it damn well should be. :)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:45 AM on May 26, 2006


A National Review columnist's Love Letter to Iron Maiden's Powerslave: http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200409150615.asp

Yeah - a conservative friend of mine has tried to sway me to his arguments by letting me know how cool this National Review columnist is because he likes Iron Maiden - Dude - Up the Irons literally means lets put these fascists heads on pikes - sheesh ...
posted by mctsonic at 8:20 AM on May 26, 2006


> just this week's evidence of how irony is lost on much of conservative America.

Entirely overbalanced by the crowd that's so totally ironical they see irony where none is intended, and get embarrassed by sincerity. An ironical personality is a damaged personality.
posted by jfuller at 8:29 AM on May 26, 2006


What a crock. Sincerely.

Sincerity and self-awareness (the root of irony) are not in opposition. They are frequently complementary, as a self-examining person is less likely to unthinkingly hold forth a position they would not actually support if they took the time to think about it.

Sincere but unexamined beliefs are not a good thing.

Is it ironic that the National Review places Taxman high on the list while pushing deficits and supply-side policies that cost taxpayers more than any normal tax increase?

Yes.

Not recognizing the irony there is no virtue at all, it's craven. And that is my sincere belief.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:44 AM on May 26, 2006


You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street,
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.

And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You'll get the chance to put the knife in.

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it's going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you
get older.
And in the end you'll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.

And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown.
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw
around.
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone.

I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used.
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise.
If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this
maze?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone's expendable and no-one has a real friend.
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
And everything's done under the sun,
And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer.


Fuck that, the whole album just about sums up life in these wonderful times.
posted by longbaugh at 9:08 AM on May 26, 2006


40. "Wake Up Little Susie," by The Everly Brothers.
A smash hit in 1957, back when high—school social pressures were rather different from what they have become: "We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot."


Maybe it’s my 80s upbringing but I’d always assumed they fell asleep post coitus.
posted by Tenuki at 10:16 AM on May 26, 2006


I like this quote from mctsonic's link:

The second song is one of Iron Maiden's most familiar: "Two Minutes to Midnight." It's an anti-nuke tune whose politics aren't exactly to my liking.

Nice.
posted by papakwanz at 10:45 AM on May 26, 2006


If I ever write a liberal's guide to the 50 best gold courses in the world, TNR is welcome to ridicule it. You guys too.
posted by bardic at 11:17 AM on May 26, 2006


*golf, urg. What little funny was there is now gone. Damn you Byron York!
posted by bardic at 11:18 AM on May 26, 2006


My favorite gold course is the Yukon, I think.
posted by COBRA! at 11:21 AM on May 26, 2006


I played The Trees in social studies my sophomore year of high school. Never thought about Red Barchetta, though. RB's about safety legislation, though; if you read A Nice Morning Drive, the newer cars had hardly any fuel economy.
"The regulations concerning safety became
tougher. Cars became larger, heavier, less efficient. They consumed
gasoline so voraciously that the United States had had to become a major
ally with the Arabian countries*. The new cars were hard to stop or maneuver
quickly. but they would save your life (usually) in a 50-mph crash."
Prophetic! And like the cars in ANMD, today's huge SUVs save the occupants at the cost of anything smaller they hit (which is why they were chasing the smaller Barchetta).
posted by Eideteker at 12:03 PM on May 26, 2006


So a number of the more overt Objectivist styled songs from Rush probably count.

They definitely do. Peart, however, finally climbed off of his Randian perch at about 1983 or so ("Moving Pictures"?). Most of their later stuff touched on themes of the pointlessness of war (mostly of the nuclear variety), consumerist culture and social injustice.

Was Rush the only band of the arena rock era never to write a song about a girl?
posted by psmealey at 12:56 PM on May 26, 2006


Cobra! -

"...they were playing "Won't Get Fooled Again" with the "meet the new boss; the same as the old boss" line edited out."

I remember that. Didn't The Who ask them to stop using it.

Remember they started using "Eye of the Tiger" instead?
posted by rougy at 1:24 PM on May 26, 2006


Perhaps the most surreal moment of my life was watching Steve Forbes - hosting Saturday Night Live - introducing Rage Against the Machine, who sang Bulls on Parade

Me, I gotta go with Hero by Ministry (for libertarian tunes).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on May 26, 2006


Oddly, Rotten's break-down on Bodies pretty much sums up my feelings towards Buckley.

Fuck this and fuck that
Fuck it all and fuck a fucking brat
She don't wanna baby that looks like that
I don't wanna baby that looks like that


Which kinds of lends the idea that well... Johnny Rotten doesn't really give a shit about abortion and just hates everybody.

Much more appropriate for the list would have been 'Holiday in the Sun' or 'Belsen was a gas' or any of the punk songs referencing the Holocaust.
posted by Football Bat at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2006


The Heroes one especially bugged me - one of my favorite songs. It embodies the love of my life. It's not a lament against communism, it's about the assholes in control who won't let us love each other.

Actually, the wall mentioned in this song really is the Berlin Wall.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:15 PM on May 26, 2006


Oops.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:16 PM on May 26, 2006


Thanks for the link, ZenMaster. I like trivia stuff like that.
posted by rougy at 8:53 PM on May 26, 2006


Entirely overbalanced by the crowd that's so totally ironical they see irony where none is intended

Intention, last I checked, wasn't a pre-req for the occurance of irony.
posted by namespan at 6:27 PM on May 30, 2006


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