Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Present Day Clash Wanna-be Refuses to Die

Hmm. Seems these guys have a new album out. No video yet, but from the review I read in yesterday's Times, the new single sounds a lot like their older stuff. For instance:



Food for thought: 40 years ago, there were no songs this angry or explicitly political coming from influential rock bands, with the possible exception of Country Joe and the Fish. Seriously, everybody thinks protest songs mobilized anti-Vietnam sentiment, but if you actually remember 1968 it's just not true. Protest? Cream? The Youngbloods? The Doors? The Grateful Dead? Traffic? Creedence? Hendrix? Get real....

13 comments:

Noam Sane said...

Creedence?

"It ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son."

Later used, of course, in a Ralph Lauren commercial.

But yeah, that's about it.

steve simels said...

"Fortunate Son" came out in 1970.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Um ... well ... I dunno ... "After Bathing at Baxter's" came out in 1967.

"War's good business so give your son
and I'd rather have my country die for me."

steve simels said...

My point is that none of the big Amrican bands of the 60s, except the Fish, were political at all.

It's telling that the only band that had the guts to play the Chicago convention in '68 were the MC5, who were barely known outside of Detroit at the time.

This is strictly an observation rather than a criticism, BTW. I just think it's interesting that so little of the pop music of the day reflected the political ferment of the time, despite the fact that everybody perceives otherwise.

TMink said...

Don't look now, it ain't you and me.

Nice to see the yutes being admonished to not forget their prayers! Hee hee!

To hell with the devil indeed.

Trey

Brooklyn Girl said...

Still gotta differ with you ... along with the Airplane (see above), the Buffalo Springfield were certainly political ("For What It's Worth"), which means so were C, S, N & Y albeit not until post-1968. The Mothers of Invention were political ("Who Are The Brain Police"), although I guess they were more on the fringe. The Fugs, too, although they were on the fringe of the fringe.

And I think it also depends on how you define the term: if politics is personal rather than institutional, then The Youngbloods were political ("Get Together").

They all just weren't as rage-filled at that point. Woodstock was about ... well, you know ...

Peace, love, dope!

steve simels said...

I think by political I mean strongly anti-war. In a putting yourself on the line sort of way.

I mean, as much as love "For What It's Worth," it's a protest song about a curfew on the Sunset Strip, i.e., about the right of kids to hang out and get high.

Which makes it the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right to Party" of its day.

David said...

People like Barry McGuire no doubt scared a lot of right-minded people away from the idea of being overtly political. "Eve of Destruction" was the most heinous political pop song of its age, right up until the time that "The Ballad of Lt. Calley" came along.

Brooklyn Girl said...

I didn't know that about the Springfield song ... when it came out, I heard it as much more ominous and paranoid than that. But maybe that was my conspiratorial mindset.

Interesting, though. Using your criterion, even "Feel LIke I'm Fixin' To Die", while it may BE angry, doesn't SOUND angry, and so it comes across as sarcastic but not as an ultimatum or call to action. "Fight For Your Right to Party" SOUNDS angry and defiant, even though it's stupid.

steve simels said...

I think David's point about "Eve of Destruction" is spot on. Especially when you factor in its rightwing sequel, "Dawn of Correction."

After that double dose of stupid, writing protest songs probably seemed like a bad idea.

Although, as I posted here sometime ago, the 80s Red Rockers cover of "Eve" can almost make you believe it's a good song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbNh9-7hYtg

Brooklyn Girl said...

One last thought on the subject ... I think "protest songs" were considered to be in the folk music domain and didn't cross over into rock until Dylan went electric. In other words, there simply was no model for it, and it took a while for the idea that rock could (or should) be political to take hold.

Steve M. said...

I think the theory was that songs about dropping acid and fucking in the street were political, and could actually stop the war, maaaaannnn....

pia said...

Sorry I always come to parties after they're over. It's a life skill
Read these lyrics
The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Gimme an F!
F!
Gimme an I!
I!
Gimme an S!
S!
Gimme an H!
H!
What's that spell ?
FISH!
What's that spell ?
FISH!
What's that spell ?
FISH!

Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta go out and get those reds —
The only good commie is the one who's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Huh!

Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
Send 'em off before it's too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Some of the best songs in the world sound one way but when you listen...and anybody who ever saw Country Joe act this out had to be affected

In high school I loved the Fugs--that might have had a lot to do with hanging in The East Village and knowing them a bit--and having to ask the salesperson for their album as it wasn't in the racks--sort of a precusor to Tipper Gore's rating system--but they were only political in the drug sense and were masters of a sick sort of irony