[Insert Clever Title Dealing With Music And Politics]

From the desk of Brian:Potential Column Ideas:
— music news
— contemporary issues
— whatever band stereogum.com really likes this week
— presidential elections (YES!)

Oh. My. God. Let’s talk about the presidential election! It’s super current, you know? It’s seriously as cutting edge as, like, an Arctic Monkeys song. Yeah, you start bleeding just looking at the Arctic Monkeys since they’re so cutting edge. Remember how they changed music forever with a slightly above average rock album? Anyway. Let’s. Talk. About. The. Election.
Like my musical tastes, my presidential preferences lie far from the mainstream; I’ve been really into Kucinich’s old stuff lately. But when the good stuff gets thrown into the mainstream, their flavor gets watered down. Barack might have been real authentic, sounding like some smooth flamenco, but the production values are suffocating the style like a 1980s Springsteen album. Romney might have been something worth while but he’s changed his sound so much he could be confused for Beck’s evil twin.
— Insert joke about Rudy Giuliani being a “one hit wonder;” the hit being 9/11. Draw a parallel between him and The Shadows of Knight, a band from the Chicago suburbs who, in 1965, recorded a kicking version of Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” propelling them to the national scene and then failed to do much afterwards. Be sure to stress that “Gloria” is a cooler song than “9/11.” Mention that Osama Bin Laden kind of looks like Scottie Pippen?
— Insert a hilarious joke about Hillary Clinton lip-synching, inferring that Bill is behind the curtain really singing, like in Singin’ in the Rain.
— Insert rough notes on jokes that are too dumb to flesh out.

Speaking of Bill Clinton, remember how he played saxophone, and then he got elected? It seems since then, candidates love to show their musical skillz. John Kerry could bust out a surf-rock solo as well as any Wilson brother, and it at least got him the nomination in 2004.
After winning the Iowa Caucasus, Mike Huckabee played a mean bass in a rendition of CCR’s classic, “Fortunate Son.” I don’t understand how a wildly right-winged candidate like Huckabee thinks he can play that song. Maybe the leftist, anti-military/government sentiments in the song isolated him from voters and caused the loss in New Hampshire. Either way, music seems to be a very important part of the campaign process.
The official campaign song always seems to receive more attention than deserved. Old man Bush controversially urged the public into content apathy with the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” until the composer Bobby McFerrin objected. Clinton used a Fleetwood Mac jam and consequently brought the group back together to perform at The White House. But candidates are still finding new ways to use rock and roll to their advantage.
Bright Eyes played a show for Obama in Iowa. If you went to the Bright Eyes show at Foellinger last semester, you know exactly how uncomfortably interested Connor Oberst is in politics. Supposedly Jeff Tweedy and everyone else in Chicago making music support the big O, too.
— Conclusion: Don’t forget to make it preachy!
It’s cool to see rock and popular music enter the realm of politics, but it’s also disheartening. It doesn’t make music and its creators more important and engaged in the democratic process, it just trivializes the candidates and the system. Using music and artists to promote their agenda, politicians are just pushing elections further from anything intellectual and meaningful to a really expensive popularity contest. It’s no surprise, but it also doesn’t look like it’ll ever change. But as the great Neil Young has said, “Keep on rocking in the free world.”

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