Seeing music from different perspectives

Via A Moderate from South Dakota I learn that the National Review Online (sorry, not on my reading list) has compiled a list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs. Reviewing the list raised my eyebrows. Some of the selections make sense but a couple display the different views different people can take on music.

NRO says that to qualify for the list a song “must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values.” I’m not quite sure what the difference is between conservative skepticism and my cynicism but it certainly seems there’s an overlap when it comes to the #1 song.

It’s the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and is off Who’s Next, one of my desert island discs. In fact, NRO even points to the same lyrics I did: “Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss.” My poli sci degree must be failing because I see that as a cynic/libertarian view, not a conservative one.

That’s perhaps indicative of the different spin the NRO puts on some of these tunes, at least spins different than I have. Many of the songs it selected would never make to my playlist but I still can’t help but wonder what people like Bob Dylan, The Pretenders, Ben Folds, John Mellencamp and The Clash think about making the top conservative song list.

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone

“Won’t Get Fooled Again,” The Who, Who’s Next

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2 comments to Seeing music from different perspectives

  • This is the definitive convservative rock song:

  • Anonymous

    amazingly funny list, but not unexpected. the genius of Ronald Reagan was that he could use a song like “Born in the USA” (sadly, not on the list) because he understood that all he needed was the chorus and that he and his conservative followers could ignore the rest of the lyrics.
    as for the songs on the list, too many choices to make fun of: some because they’re right on (Sweet Home Alabama with its defense of Watergate and George Wallace, and Heroes, with those wonderful lines: “You can be mean/And I’ll, I’ll drink all the time”–great conservative values), and some because they were picked:
    “Who’ll Stop the Rain” a great anti-Viet Nam war song is a great conservative rock song!?!?! nothing more needs to be said.
    “My City was Gone”–any song that complains that the farms of Ohio “Had been replaced by shopping malls/And muzak filled the air” isn’t about a conservative’s dissatisfaction with change, but Rush Limbaugh learned the lessons of his hero and understood that for his listeners, a great bass line trumps liberal lyrics.