I need a break people. For the past couple weeks it’s been nothing but magical vaginal rape shields and Ayn Rand objectivist petting parties and I don’t know how much more of it I can take. The Republican National Convention is less than a week away in the cultural mecca that is Tampa, Florida and I’ve already reached my breaking point for inhumane jabber. If I keep following my damned Twitter feed like a junkie waiting for his spoon to get cooking, then I’m going to be headed for the Lewis Carroll Memorial Nuthouse within the month. In order to watch Condi Rice declare the gender war won because she bought a locker at Augusta National at the same time Scott Walker sends Pinkertons in to bust up the unionized convention catering service while maintaining some semblance of sanity, I’m going to have to put this thing in park for a hot second and cool the engines down. With that in mind, I think it’s high time to channel the spirit of Lester Bangs—minus the cough syrup, of course—and get a little lyrical.
It seems that the Romney/Ryan ticket has joined a long and storied list of Republican presidential candidates who have been asked by the rocking classes to stop playing their damned music on the campaign trail. During the ’84 presidential race Bruce Springsteen had to tell Ronald Reagan to stop playing Born in the USA at his rallies after the President’s staffers didn’t bother to listen to any lyrics in the song outside of the chorus. Then again, maybe The Gipper’s soul began to soar when he listened to The Boss talk about having his brother die in Khe Sahn and subsequently getting shut out of work when he got back stateside? But we can’t put all the blame on Dutch, now. This same play has been put on multiple times since then and, amazingly enough, it’s happened three times in the past week.
Enter Paul Ryan, a man who very clearly is not familiar with things like nuance or listening. In past interviews, the Wisconsin congressman and P90-X enthusiast has stated that his favorite band is Rage Against The Machine, a group that is basically a walking embodiment of the Occupy movement. My guess is that Mr. Ryan only listened to The Battle of Los Angeles on his ipod while he was doing cardio because of its up-tempo, hard-rockin’ goodness and didn’t bother to even read the track names…or look at the album artwork…or listen to the lyrics. Needless to say, Rage guitarist Tom Morello didn’t take to kindly to being promoted by a fascistic enemy of the people and wrote an op-ed response to Ryan for Rolling Stone, where he asks:
“I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!”
It would be bad enough if the Rage debacle were a singular incident, but it seems to be a trend for the GOP’s big ticket in 2012. Earlier in the week, Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert demanded that the Romney campaign stop their unauthorized use of their song, “Panic Switch” and, just yesterday, Twisted Sister vocalist and human pinata Dee Snider told Ryan & Co. to stop using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at events. It makes one wonder if Republicans can use any rock music in their bid for The White House. To that end, I have compiled a list of songs that I genuinely think the Romney/Ryan campaign could use on the trail. And don’t think simply because I loathe Mittens and Paulie with the fire of a thousand Red Dwarf suns that I’m going to steer them wrong with my picks. No one, no matter how evil, deserves to be introduced to something better than the screeching musical cancer that is Ted Nugent.
- The Kinks – A Well Respected Man: One of my absolute favorite songs from The British Invasion and a tune whose lyrics fairly accurately encapsulate what Romney’s all about, or at least what he wants to be. I mean, the chorus of the bloody song ends with, “He’s a well respected man about town / Doing the best things so conservatively.” It’s touches all the Romney bases. Ray Davies sings about a man who is waiting to inherit millions from his Pops, makes his living as a stockbroker and attends regattas in his spare time. It’s a brilliant fit and, since The Kinks are a bunch of geriatric Brits, I doubt they’d care one way or the other about their song being used in an American political race.
- Huey Lewis & The News – Hip To Be Square: No one has ever accused Mitt Romney of being cool. I think the most common adjectives used to describe the former Massachusetts Governor would be wooden and robotic. And, despite his youthful good looks and rock hard abs, Paul Ryan is a complete and utter dweeb. The man swims in his suits like he was still wearing his bigger cousin’s hand-me-downs and was voted biggest brown noser in his high school yearbook. The tenor sax-heavy goodness of Huey Lewis & The News is exactly what these two men need to flip the script on their uptight public personas. Plus, I can only dream of the magic moment when Mitt does the white man’s overbite when being played out to the song at the RNC.
- KISS – Detroit Rock City: Michigan is a huge swing state that has traditionally skewed Democratic and, despite his father being a former governor of the state, Mittens is trailing Obama by 5.5% in the polls. What better way to give the campaign a ratings jolt than by adopting the Motor City’s anthem as their own? On a side note, KISS may be one of the most Republican bands of the past half-century. Once you look past the freaky Kabuki makeup and platform shoes, you get a glimpse of the a capitalist juggernaut that just happened to make rock music. Gene Simmons is the rock and roll equivalent of Donald Trump and he would be a natural spokesperson for the GOP. While it goes against conventional wisdom, heavy metal is in actuality a supremely conservative genre. It was the perfect muse for the Reagan eighties, despite how appalled Nancy would have been by Gene Simmons’ tongue, and Romney would be wise to channel it’s materialistic energy.
- Neon Trees – Everybody Talks: My last pick might not make much sense at first glance. Yeah, they are a stratospherically popular band that is so ubiquitous that they managed to pull off the “Hey Ya! Trifecta,” an honor bestowed upon those rare bands who are able to get a hit single into heavy rotation on Top 40, Alt-Rock and Adult Contemporary radio stations, but what does that have to do with Romney? Well, like the GOP presidential hopeful, the group are a bunch of Beehive State natives from Provo, Utah and…get ready for it…they’re Mormon! I really did not see that one coming. Christian rock normally begets musical bastard children like Creed and Switchfoot, but the Neon Trees seem to be a different beast altogether. With Neon Trees, Romney can show some LDS love and get let the young twenty-somethings that he is aware of music that was made after Saturday Night Fever was released.
Categories: US Politics