Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Keep on Rocking in the GOP World!

The National Review unloaded a summer's worth of cognitive dissonance on the world last week by identifying what they consider to be the Fifty Greatest Conservative Rock Songs of all time. Looking at the list, it's hard to say whether the adjective "greatest" is meant to modify the conversativeness of the songs or the rockingness of the songs. I'm left to conclude, mainly, that it chiefly refers to the level of wishful thinking going on.

For a list of songs that supposedly evince conservative greatness, the bar is set awfully low. For example, if you've ever had a problem with Stalinism and sung about it, it turns out you are a cosmonaut for the right wing. Really, who knew? For a liberal like me, you'd think I have a bunch of pro-Stalin tunes blazing up my iPod, but, surprise surprise, much like the majority of the non-crazy world, I, too am against totalitarian kleptocracies that murder their own citizens. That said, George Allen better just calm down before he wets his britches in anticipation of my vote.

Additionally, if you've ever said anything bad about abortion or evinced a dislike of paying your taxes, then you too are a card carrying member of the CON, and you'd better start loving those wiretaps.

The list is a little bereft of songs that are actively FOR anything, which, now that I think about it, is pretty much in line with conventional conservative thought circa now. Also, it's a little short on recent accomplishment. I mean, that's great that memories of the Berlin Wall falling are so fresh and vivid in the minds of the National Review's editors, but where are the pop tributes to their party's recent good works? Where's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Baghdad"? Where's "Subterranean Homesick Tax Cuts"? Where's their hellacious version of "Bring the Noise"--sample lyric: "Chalabi is a prophet that I think you ought to listen to..."

And really...they miss some obvious choices. Why only one Creed song? Why no craptastic corporate country music? Fucking Joey Ramone spent his dying days penning odes to Maria Baritromo and telling everyone who would listen that he was a Republican, and these assholes from NR can't even kick one of punk rock's pioneers a bone? For shame.

Perhaps most shocking and shameful: not a single cut from Bruce Willis' seminal The Return of Bruno made the list. NOT A SINGLE CUT!

What did make the list?
See for yourself. Send me some emails on your thoughts.

LATER: We go over the list.
AND THEN: I prove that with a little tortured reasoning, any random ten songs on your iPod can be turned into a conservative anthem.


Anonymous said...

Why no "Born in the USA"? From their own descriptions, American pride qualifies a song for the Conservative Top 50. Springsteen's own liberal stance should have no bearing, other famous liberals are included (see Bono.) So this omission begs the questions: Why does John J. Miller hate the USA?

Gabriel Fry said...

They got burned on "Born In The USA" back in the Reagan years. They have since learned not to misconstrue that particular song, but the larger lesson about why it was a mistake to judge a song by its title still evades them, it would appear.

Anonymous said...

Oh that's right. I completely forgot about that... good call!

mike c said...

I'll give him "Taxman". I've always thought that George really had to have been screwed by the UK gov't for him to write that song, or he had his head up his ass when it came time to pay up. Still, I don't think it took him too long to get over it. The tune is a great one though.

Other than that I have two comments for the rest of the list:

This guy is really reaching. I think he'd have been reaching to find 10 songs true to a Conservative cause.

It is indeed true that irony is completely lost in the Conservative world.

Anonymous said...

Hey NRO: No "Ballad of the Green Berets?" No "Sink the Bismarck?" No Nugent? etc.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, the list is of greatest conservative songs, not artists. There's nothing cognitively dissonant about a moderate or liberal writing one song that is arguably conservative in message. Furthermore, Bob Dylan seems to have an awfully conservative streak in him; does that make "Blowing in the Wind" cognitively dissonant?

Also, I've always wondered why someone would be so proud to share his or her politics with a rock star. I'd rather think that the average rock star, who is about as in touch with reality as a small country's dictator, doesn't share my opinions on issues of the day. These people are not rich and famous because of their intellectual heft; it's because they're either pretty, or prettily non-pretty and can write and/or sing a catchy song. They certainly didn't get there on the merits of the policy positions.

Oh and whether irony is lost on the conservative world would be a decent question if you hadn't yourself completely missed the fact that this article is completely tounge-in-cheek.

Anonymous said...

also thought this was a ridiculous list and obviously reaching.

E.g.: the Graham Parker "anti-abortion" song that's on this list. An extremely powerful song to be sure, but I don't really know if it's explicitly anti-abortion. It certainly is anti-responsibility with lines like "It's just a mistake I won't have to face." and "I'll go see the boys/who'll laugh when I say I left it overseas."

Rob said...

If they think "Right Here, Right Now" by Jesus Jones is such a kick-ass conservative song, they might want to avoid listening to another on the same album: "Welcome Back, Victoria." It's about the return of puritanical sexual mores in British and American society in the last 20 years. Best line goes something like this: "Clean sheets, clean words, clean shirts...dirty minds."

Seth said...

I'm pretty sure about 80% of the artists in that list would be SUPER PISSED if they found out NRO felt their songs were for "traditional conservative values"

e.g. Ben Folds, The Offspring, Art Alexakis of Everclear, JOHN FREAKING MELLENCAMP

Particularly precient? Sammy Hagar's I can't drive 55. A song about breaking the law?! I mean it's a great song, but it's hardly conservative. I wonder how they fell about Mas Tequila?

Anonymous said...

If you've ever been to a young republican mixer party, you'd know exactly how they feel about mas tequila ;)