The National Review, a conservative magazine, published a list of the “Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs” earlier this spring. You can get the list via this post at the Lincoln Journal Star’s Ground Zero blog.
“The magazine says it based its selections on ‘a broad criteria: the songs had to be well-liked and express classically conservative ideas such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values.’
The Review used a completely surface-level reading of these tunes in order to co-opt them for their conservative agenda. It reminds me of Ronald Reagan using Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” as a campaign anthem; Reagan liked the chorus, never mind that the verses were all about the struggles of working-class Americans.
Their # 1, The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” isn’t about government at all. Pete Townshend talks at length on his VH1 Storytellers episode about how this song is about “losing yourself – that thing we used to to a lot of in the ’60’s” through “a football game, a great party, or making love to somebody” and not letting uptight squares like the National Review talk you out of having those experiences.
The Review obviously misses the irony of the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” at # 5. The same on “Wonderful” by Everclear at # 43. Conservatives tend not to understand subtleties like “irony,” preferring to force the world into black-or-white. That worldview doesn’t jive so much with rock music, or art in general.
This list is just example # 4, 592, 371 of conservatives staking claim on typically progressive pop culture for their own agenda. It’s transparent, and it doesn’t work; the National Review and its readers make lists while classic liberals/Enlightenment-types/progressives/Greens/etc. make ROCK MUSIC. I’ll take that difference and see it play in the media any day.
In FuriousSound studio news, I’m mastering Robot, Creep Closer!‘s debut album for Lone Prairie Records this weekend. I’ve also demoed nine songs for Sally Ride’s upcoming It’s A Trap, and am working on drums. In a way, this relates to the main post, because the new SR will include songs about the NSA domestic-spying program, net neutrality, David S. Addington, and Ohio 2004. -h