wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Conservative rock top 50? Um, right.

I'm not sure quite what to make of John Miller's list of the 50 best conservative rock songs. My general attitude towards rock when it gets political is that 99% of it is lame and the other 1% should, as Frank Zappa once recommended, "shut up and play yer guitar". A lot of the stuff he lists is pretty obscure, the sort of stuff that self-styled "aficionados" like and the rest of us have never heard of (Graham Parsons?) or stuff that probably required a fair amount of digging in the deep tracks.

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

2. "Taxman," by The Beatles.
I hate the Beatles, but yes.

3. "Sympathy for the Devil," by The Rolling Stones.
"Don't be misled by the title; this song is The Screwtape Letters of rock."

4. "Sweet Home Alabama," by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

5. "Wouldn't It Be Nice," by The Beach Boys.
I never liked the Beach Boys. If you want something that's pro-marriage, try on Harry Chapin's "W.O.L.D." for size. How about that rock-n-roll lifestyle now, kids?

6. "Gloria," by U2.
U2 - the greatest Christian rock band in the world, but nobody realizes it.

7. "Revolution," by The Beatles.
Yes, the Fab Four could be awfully snarky about politics when they wanted to be.

8. "Bodies," by The Sex Pistols.
Not familiar with this one. I would have gone with "Holiday in the Sun", myself, not to be confused with the Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia", though the two have a lot in common. Bonus irony points for one of the great anarchist bands of the East Bay doing a song that no pomo poser lefty band would be caught dead singing.

9. "Don't Tread on Me," by Metallica.
If I was going to put a Metallica song in here, it'd be "Master of Puppets". Now that is an anti-drug song.

10. "20th Century Man," by The Kinks.
Like so many Kinks songs, I've never heard it.

11. "The Trees," by Rush.
"What happens in a forest when equal rights become equal outcomes? 'The trees are all kept equal / By hatchet, axe, and saw.'" I like "A Farewell To Kings" better, myself, but I can see his point. Also see 2112 for what may be the only rock opera dedicated to Ayn Rand, "New World Man", and "Tom Sawyer".

12. "Neighborhood Bully," by Bob Dylan.
There's so much I don't know about Dylan, it's not funny.

13. "My City Was Gone," by The Pretenders.
"Virtually every conservative knows the bass line, which supplies the theme music for Limbaugh's radio show." Miller goes on to point out that the song has some harsh things to say about government, too.

14. "Right Here, Right Now," by Jesus Jones.
"Watching the world wake up from history..."
Well, that was nice while it lasted, but the song did capture the mood of the moment when the Wall went down.

15. "I Fought the Law," by The Crickets..
Covered by every band that could play three chords. Yawn.

16. "Get Over It," by The Eagles.
Another band you wouldn't expect to be playing something like this, eh?

17. "Stay Together for the Kids," by Blink 182.
Somebody needs to do a Ranma 1/2 AMV for this with Genma & Mrs. Saotome.

18. "Cult of Personality," by Living Colour.
"A hard-rocking critique of state power, whacking Mussolini, Stalin, and even JFK."

19. "Kicks," by Paul Revere and the Raiders.
This is old and moldy and needs to be replaced by "Master of Puppets".

20. "Rock the Casbah," by The Clash.
"Shareef don't like it..." But the little girls understand, especially the ones carrying M-16s in the Sandbox
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...I can remember (I remember)/ Standing / By the wall (By the wall) / And the guns / Shot above our heads (Over 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/ Yes we can be heroes/ Just for one day."
Very few songs make me cry. This is one of them.

22. "Red Barchetta," by Rush.
This is an okay song, but "Tom Sawyer" off this album is better.

23. "Brick," by Ben Folds Five.

24. "Der Kommissar," by After the Fire.
This song to the contrary, Falco is still no Mozart.

25. "The Battle of Evermore," by Led Zeppelin.
This is really questionable. I'm sure we could find 50 other prog-rock bloviations on a Middle-Earth theme.

26. "Capitalism," by Oingo Boingo.
I'm sure edminster's dad will give me crap for not giving props to Oingo Boingo, but...it's obscure.

27. "Obvious Song," by Joe Jackson.
We're reaching here, aren't we?

28. "Janie's Got a Gun," by Aerosmith.
I personally don't like it, but he's right.

29. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Iron Maiden.
To answer his question, Rush's "Xanadu" is one long quote from Coleridge. Duh.

30. "You Can't Be Too Strong," by Graham Parker.
Everybody who claims to know rock raves about this guy, but nobody ever plays him. *shrug*

31. "Small Town," by John Mellencamp.
Mellencamp has a lot of songs singing the praises of small-town life. He's the anti-Keillor, in some ways.

32. "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," by The Georgia Satellites.
I never liked this song or band either, kept getting them confused with Counting Crows.

33. "You Can't Always Get What You Want," by The Rolling Stones.
Mmmm, more Stones. I guess Mick learned something at LSE after all.

34. "Godzilla," by Blue Öyster Cult.
Somewhere out there, someone is doing their thesis (or maybe even dissertation) on Nazi and BDSM imagery in the works of BOC.

35. "Who'll Stop the Rain," by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I always thought that line was "Bobby plans a New Deal...", but I stand corrected. Works either way, really.

36. "Government Cheese," by The Rainmakers.

37. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," by The Band.
"...'til Sherman's cavalry came/And tore up the tracks again."
I dunno about this one either.

38. "I Can't Drive 55," by Sammy Hagar.
I think there's no question that he was better as a solo act than lead singer of Van Hagar. That having been said, this is a great song. Take that, Hillary! (Another take on this, with amusing Photoshop content.)

39. "Property Line," by The Marshall Tucker Band.

40. "Wake Up Little Susie," by The Everly Brothers.
Talk about stretching it. Even when I was a kid, this wasn't rock n' roll.

41. "The Icicle Melts," by The Cranberries.
Dolores O'Riordan has a fabulous voice, 'tis true, but this is one of their more obscure songs.

42. "Everybody's a Victim," by The Proclaimers.
And speaking of obscure...

43. "Wonderful," by Everclear.
This must have been off the second album, which sank like a rock. There's some good songs that depict the squalor and misery of addiction on their first CD, though.

44. "Two Sisters," by The Kinks.
Again with the Kinks songs that nobody's heard.

45. "Taxman, Mr. Thief," by Cheap Trick.

46. "Wind of Change," by The Scorpions.
Big, lumbering, ponderous arena rock, but like "Right Here, Right Now" it did capture the mood of the times.

47. "One," by Creed.

48. "Why Don't You Get a Job," by The Offspring.
You know, for a rock band, they don't seem to have a lot of good things to say about the lifestyle, do they?

49. "Abortion," by Kid Rock.
Maybe it's just me, but I would've gone with "Cowboy". Purely for the swagger.

50. "Stand By Your Man," by Tammy Wynette.
What is WRONG with you people? First the Everly Brothers (hack, spit) and now this?
Granted, he threw in the Motorhead cover, but really. *shakes head*

Jeez. I need to go get some lunch.
Obligatory hat-tipping to Michelle Malkin and Ann Althouse. I think Althouse is right about a lot of those songs being about an aversion to politics and politicians rather than small-government conservatism/libertarianism, BTW.

UPDATE I think Lileks has the right idea:
Lists like these give me hives. Expecting anything from the lyrics of a rock song - besides "we who are about to rock, and are currently in the process of prepatory rocking, salute you who are likewise engaged in the rocking process" - seems to miss the point of the genre.
Tags: culture & politics
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