The new Natalie Maines record is continuing to spur music writers to slam the "cowardice" of the country-music industry and the stuffiness of the country-music audience in the aftermath of Maines trashing President Bush at a London concert on the eve of the Iraq war.
On the NPR show "Fresh Air" on Wednesday, music critic Ken Tucker insisted Maines was just ahead of where the majority would arrive on Bush's wrong-headedness:
Rapper Armando Pérez, better known by his stage name Pitbull, used the recent dust-up over liberal celebrities Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Beyoncé Knowles traveling to Cuba to call attention to the awful conditions faced by people in his homeland.
Responding to an earlier “open letter” by Carter in which he defended his trip to the communist dictatorship, Pérez did not condemn the musical couple. Instead, he called attention to the suffering of the Cuban people and how so many have died trying to come to freedom in America.
Music critic Jon Caramanica reviewed country star Brad Paisley's latest album "Wheelhouse," in "Taking Country Less Conservative" for the Arts section of Wednesday's New York Times. Caramanica gave Paisley backhanded compliments for "openmindedness" while insulting the genre of country music as rigidly conservative (Caramanica has previously given backhanded praised to country music itself, for not being as homophobic as some people think).
These are country music’s postmilitarization years. A decade ago, there were songs about strong soldiers and a just war, weeping soldiers and unimpeachable ideology -- the genre latched onto the political moment and held fast like a remora.
The New York Times Magazine profile of young, nontraditional country singer Kathy Musgraves by contributor Carlo Rotella was infected with smug urban liberalism and a stale defense of the defunct Dixie Chicks, "who had a patriotic fatwa declared against them for saying they were against the war in Iraq and ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas."
You may remember that incident occured happened a few days before the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, and was proclaimed from a stage in London -- a safer place to indulge anti-war stridency than their home state of Texas.
Just when it seemed like everyone of note in the entertainment industry was enthusiastic about another four years of Obama. Lo and behold, there are some dissenters. Not that the large broadcast media outlets will notice, of course.
Antwan Patton, better known by his stage name Big Boi from OutKast, has sold over 50 million records throughout his career. With a new solo album coming out, Big Boi agreed to an interview request from one of the leading music blogs called Pitchfork. When the discussion turned to politics, the former Obama supporter and wealthy rapper was honest and up front about his disenchantment, showing that he isn't oblivious to the financial struggles of his family, friends, and fans.
It’s kind of sad, really – a novelty pop band with a lone hit 30 years ago trying to make political hay of an incident of about the same vintage. But Devo doesn’t have much else to do these days, and the left will welcome any help in its efforts to slam presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Famous for their 1980 hit single “Whip It,” Devo just revealed their plan to release an Anti-Romney song later this month to Rolling Stone.
On Tuesday’s Morning Edition, National Public Radio promoted an Atlanta rapper named “Killer Mike” and his “politically charged” song called “Reagan.”
Somehow, they left out that Atlanta-based "artist" Michael Render ends the song with “I’m glad Reagan dead” and regurgitates the old conspiracy theory that Reagan and Ollie North imported cocaine into the inner cities:
In her May 22 "Singles File" -- described as "A weekly playlist for the listener with a one-track mind" -- Washington Post music critic Allison Stewart suggested readers might want to download the new single "Reagan" by rap artist Killer Mike.
"The Obama years haven't been fruitful ones for sociopolitically minded rappers, at least until now," Stewart gushed, noting that the Atlanta musician "dusts off some late '80s ghosts on this unblinking and brutal track from his newest [album] 'R.A.P. Music.'" But when you check out the lyrics of the track, and read his May 21 interview with HipHopDX.com, what really becomes clear is Killer Mike's "unblinking" apology for the late terror-sponsoring Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi.
Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Thursday to discuss the passing of disco singer Donna Summer, contributor Toure unleashed a viscous rant against those who didn't care for the music genre: "...there was a homophobic, and to a certain extent racist, response against disco....from large group of fans who wanted to proclaim the resurgence of white male power, of rock 'n roll and punk..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Toure began launching his absurd attack by cheering disco as "all about gay exuberance and joy." He then condemned those who criticized it: "I have never seen a movement in America to crush a musical genre in the way that the sort of almost organized anti-disco movement rose up....it reminds me of the discussion around marriage equality, that, 'You can't have this for yourself, you can't have equality, you can't be out and normalized in the public. You must be in the closest and quiet about what you love.'"
In Friday’s USA Today, music critic Edna Gundersen became the latest liberal journalist to hail the new Springsteen album as a 2012 soundtrack for Barack Obama as the Boss goes on “a tear to raze Wall Street and raise Main Street.” (Earth to Edna: Springsteen earns tens of millions a year. Would you dare to check his stock portfolio?)
Gundersen gushed that the new album’s “populist anthems are unlikely to be misinterpreted and appropriated by Republican candidates. President Obama, however, has a ready-made campaign playlist.” She called it his “most politically pointed” work yet."
Super Bowl XLVI was a good football game, marred once again by the bohemian elite at NBC. NBC could have prevented, but failed to stop, the broadcast of a female rapper "flipping the bird" at 114 million viewers during Madonna's halftime show. It was another "fleeting expletive" of the hand-gesture variety, and somehow, despite elaborate rehearsals, no one at NBC could seem to stop it.
The same network skillfully edited God out of a clip of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during last year's U.S. Open golf tournament.
Proving that not all famous musicians are in the thrall of Barack Obama and his brand of punitive liberalism, Jonathan Davis, lead singer of the heavy metal band Korn made headlines today criticizing the president.
In an interview with the music trade publication Billboard, Davis said that he believed Obama had "basically dragged this country down into the worst it's ever been." Davis made those remarks in reference to a song on the group's new CD "Path of Totality" entitled "Illuminati." His full comments are below the break:
Jessica Lowndes, an actress on the CW show ''90210,'' is trying to break into the music world - by releasing a song where she ridiculously poses as a straight woman wishing she were gay.
Lowndes released a single with the catchy title ''I Wish I Was Gay,'' about a woman reacting to being cheated on by her boyfriend. Lowdnes repeats the words ''I wish I was gay,'' and expresses a desire to ''escape those boys.'' The song also bizarrely suggests that lesbians are more faithful than straight guys, a claim even gay site Queerty mocked.
Government support for the arts can easily go very wrong. "Indie" bands in Canada are often funded by the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), and Life Site News found this amazing story:
Canadian punk group "Living with Lions" has drawn outrage for its obscene anti-Bible artwork and representation of Jesus Christ on their new album – funded by the Canadian government.
The album, entitled "Holy S—-," is designed to look like a Bible, with black cover and gold writing, yellow, faded pages, and lyric layout similar to Bible verses. It is subtitled, "The Poo Testament," and represents Christ as excrement...
Conservatives agree that public broadcasting no longer needs federal funding. But McCain Republicans are hunting for strange compromises. Former McCain 2000/2008 adviser Kevin Hassett wrote for Bloomberg that NPR and PBS news is wrong-headed, but not its arts and education initiatives (like Big Bird): "Public radio and television, then, are defensible to the extent that they serve the public good by enriching the arts. NPR and PBS, however, wandered far from this mission, providing news content that is mostly indistinguishable from that provided by left-leaning for-profit enterprises."
Let's not assume that taxpayer-supported arts and culture aren't often twisted to support the statist agenda. NPR's "arts" reporting on Monday night's All Things Considered celebrated folk singer Barbara Dane, "a versatile voice with a political purpose." (Have you heard her songs, such as "I Hate the Capitalist System"?) Anchor Robert Siegel announced Dane passed "significant signposts," such as "She was the first white woman profiled by Ebony magazine. And she was the first U.S. performer to break the U.S. travel ban to Cuba."
Within minutes of the news breaking that Jared Lee Loughner had killed six and wounded 12 in a rampage outside a Tucson safeway store, including a critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the news media immediately leapt to the conclusion that the harsh tone of our political discourse – led by conservative talk radio -- surely must be to blame.
That narrative turned out to be hogwash, but another one has emerged during the investigation into Loughner’s psyche, yet virtually no one wants to discuss it. Was the shooter inspired by the entertainment media?
Why would violent movies or music be left out of the rush to judgment? Perhaps it’s because pop-culture defenders never tire of arguing that no one can blame the “artists” – be they musicians, movie-makers or video-game manufacturers – for youth violence. So it becomes awkward, to say the least, that everyone’s discussing the need to curb a national appetite for angry rhetoric, when it was disturbing music and movies that were influencing Loughner’s mind, and they are ignored.
So MTV is holding a "townhall" for President Obama on Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in Washington, D.C.
In this case, a town hall is short-hand for "an event where annoying questions are asked by unemployed hipsters with vintage t-shirts and edgy eyewear."
But a casting call has surfaced, and this is what it says:
Seeking-Audience Members: males & females, 18+. To ensure that the audience represents diverse interests and political views, include your name...and what issues, if any, you are interested in or passionate about. Also, provide a recent photo and short description of your political views.
So what's the point of this pre-screening process? Well, it serves three purposes:
Is there no end to the many talents of Lady Gaga, already recognized as the greatest Madonna impersonator of this century? Of course we all know her as a singer, musician, fashionista and female impersonator, but recently she has revealed herself as maven in two new areas: military expert and political advisor.
It started at the MTV Video Music Awards. That is ironic in itself since I think that MTV stopped being a music channel sometime in the 1990's. Ms. Gaga, (I don't know if "Lady" is a title or simply the first part of her pseudonym) appeared in a costume made of meat. When asked the meaning of her get-up by Ellen DeGeneres, she explained it wasn't a slam on vegans.
"As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth," Gaga replied.
Wow! Did the irony of that statement knock anyone else down into their La-Z-Boy? That might be the truest thing she has ever said. It wasn't too long ago that having judgment skills was considered a plus. Not anymore!
The pop-music world is turning into a caricature of shamelessness, childishness and even spoiled-brattiness. To get attention quickly, some pop stars will try absolutely anything. The soul singer Cee-Lo Green has a new album coming out. How's this for art: His first desperate single is titled "F—- You."
The shock value is already working. A video was posted Aug. 19, and within four days, it had grabbed 1.4 million views on YouTube — another sign that YouTube is not a safe website for children. On Aug. 23, YouTube began requiring visitors to sign in to view the video, saying it "may contain content that is inappropriate for some users." That's quite an understatement. But it's also meaningless: it's unrestricted on Cee-Lo's personal website. Clicking on his MySpace page brings the song up automatically.
The entire song is obscene. It's stuffed with 16 uses of the F-bomb in under four minutes, erupting on average once every 14 seconds. It also has 10 uses of the S-word, and even two uses of "nigga." (Don't tell Dr. Laura Schlessinger.)
Washington Post Magazine humorist Gene Weingarten reacted badly in his Sunday column to the discovery that folk singer Arlo Guthrie is now a registered Republican: “By becoming a Republican, Arlo Guthrie has shredded the last remnants of my faith that our hippie principles had any lasting meaning. How can he do this to us? I'm a peaceable man, but if I had a hammer...”
Guthrie didn't become one of those warmongering neocons. He endorsed Ron Paul for president in early 2008. But Weingarten began with his marijuana-baked enthusiasm for hippiedom, which he clearly still loves dearly:
Like many middle-age people, I wear more than one hat. I'm a husband, a father, a journalist, a role model to a generation of idealistic young Americans, etc. But one of my favorite hats, the floppy felt one that still smells faintly of the sweet smoke of a controlled substance, is "former hippie." We children of the '60s tenaciously hold on to this self-image, even though our mirrors tell us that in terms of sheer hipness, we look more like Arlen Specter than Arlo Guthrie.
Editor's Note: The following was originally posted at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Seeing that George Soros and Sting are working together to “end the drug war” puts me in mind of a story an Army buddy who works in the DEA told me about busting in the door of a drug house only to find three occupants – the oldest four years old, having been left in charge while his “parents” went out to score meth. Yeah, drug use is a victimless crime – if you ignore the victims.
Apparently not content to subsidize the whining of the nonentities at Media Matters, Soros is taking a break from his adventures in currency manipulation and general scuzziness to enlist entertainment celebrities like Sting in his newest quest. The Drug Policy Alliance is the result, a group whose members, as its founder puts it, “come from across the drug use spectrum.” Yes, the junkies, stoners, hopheads, dope fiends, pill-poppers, and Lindsay Lohan are unanimous: Drug laws are bad, and it’s probably BusHitler’s fault.
Many Hollywood leftists consider President Obama a figurative godsend. Some, including Sting, think he was literally sent from God. The former Police front-man told the Associated Press that he believes that Obama is a gift from Heaven, delivered to shepherd the befuddled masses to providence (h/t Ace).
"In many ways, he's sent from God," Sting said in an interview with the AP. He heaped praise upon the President for his ability to lead the country though the "mess" in which we find ourselves. He met Obama recently and "found him to be very genuine, very present, clearly super-smart, and exactly what we need in the world."
"I can't think of any be better qualified because of his background, his education, particularly in regard to Islam," he added. Sting then went on to bash the President's critics as deranged, ignorant, and "medieval".
In case you missed it, MRC’s Tim Graham had an article published on National Review Online titled "Song of Loss." Check it out. There’s a new pro-life song out in stores and on i-Tunes:
The popular all-girl Christian-rock trio BarlowGirl has a brand-new album out with a song about the emotional pain women frequently experience after an abortion. As much as musicians since the Sixties have been hallowed as sensitive souls with a unique vision to diagnose our societal ills, few in the music world have ever wanted to address this tough topic. The three Barlow sisters — Alyssa, Lauren, and Rebecca — worked on this song for two and a half years to try to get it just right.
Tim declared: "How refreshing it is for anyone in the music industry to bring a caring, lifelong perspective into an overnight, casual-sex world."
The baby boomers are trotting out the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love," complete with all that soggy and groggy Woodstock nostalgia. Perhaps the singular statement of that summer was the music and the open celebration of "free love."
All of which, believe it or not, is preferable to what is on the air this summer.
Start with the big hit "Birthday Sex," which brought quick fame (which is to say, infamy) to a singer named Jeremih. (Why must these people always celebrate illiteracy?) His basic lyric is "Don’t need candles and cake / Just need your body to make / Birthday sex." But Jeremih also elaborates about how he wants sex in the kitchen, on a waterbed, and so on. It’s an audio porn movie.
Interestingly, and sadly, few can be found to disapprove of foisting these "adult situations" lyrics on children. Radio station managers are, as a group, completely apathetic. But school administrators? The Chicago Public Schools enlisted their newly famous alumnus Jeremih in an online Twitter campaign to urge Chicago teens to go back to school this fall.
You know, liberals should be celebrating. Their man, The Won, is in the White House. They have control of both the House and the Senate, and legislation such as cap and trade and nationalized health care may well become reality - European socialism without having to leave the comfort of home. The Brave New World is on the way. Rejoice in mediocrity for all!
So why are they so grumpy? I suppose it’s because the idea that anyone might stray from the reservation is anathema to them, and this little thing in our Constitution called the First Amendment kind of gets in the way of collective happiness and singing Kumbaya around the campfire.
"When they're runnin' down my country [music], man, they're walkin' on the fightin' side of me."
Merle Haggard's most famous lyric could well be adapted to express the reaction country music fans may have upon reading Joe Heim's latest review in the June 30 Washington Post.
Heim's lead paragraph begins with a drive-by attack on the genre as a whole:
Country music has always had something of an image problem, particularly among people who fancy themselves as progressives. Immigrant-trashing, gay-bashing, race-baiting, women-hating songs aren't hard to find in the country catalogue. Heck, sometimes you can find them all on a single album.
Heim set forward this straw man in order to more effusively praise country artist Brad Paisley as a "forward-thinking" artist in the vein of say the Bush-bashing "Dixie Chicks" for his latest album, "American Saturday Night" which "celebrates cultural diversity, lionizes women, stirringly welcomes a black president and, for good measure, whoops it up about drinkin' and fishin.'"
In a classic example of a dog-bites-man non-story, the Associated Press is dutifully furthering the "censorship" whine of a rock band that laments that Wal-Mart won't stock its new album, "21st Century Breakdown."
Of course the discount retailer's standards for music fit for its shelves are hardly new nor are they being applied out of the blue to the rockers. Nonetheless, Moody stacked the deck by quoting two of the band's three members against one Wal-Mart executive.
The big problem with renewable energy is that it just doesn’t renew itself. The sun does not shine enough and the wind doesn’t blow enough to power the towns, cities, factories, hospitals and schools that make our lives so livable. No environmentalist would ever allow their child to be treated in a hospital fully powered by “renewables”. They would not take the risk that the wind might stop whilst their baby was on the operating table. They would insist that the hospital and the life support systems had a fossil fuel powered back-up.
And so it is with “sustainable development”. It just isn’t sustainable. At least it does not sustain a lifestyle that those who promote it would consider acceptable for themselves. But of course that is the key. Renewable energy and sustainable development are for “other people”. Even though environmentalists come from societies and very often families that became rich because of their use of non-renewable energy and unsustainable development they will not allow these opportunities to be extended to the poor in the developing world.
Environmentalists come from wealthy societies and families who cut down forests and burned coal and oil to make their families and societies healthy and prosperous. But, nowadays, for the poor in Africa and Asia and even middle America their path out of poverty must be “sustainable.” No fossil fuels or factories for them. But what this really means is sustainable poverty. It is a system that condemns people to a lifetime of drudgery and subsistence farming because modernity and industrialisation is “unsustainable.”
Which brings me to Bono, the lead singer of rock band U2 and more lately a campaigner for sustainable development in Africa, Asia and south America.
I confess I love popping all over the iTunes Store. On the home page today, they were plugging a new single by Jordin Sparks, a recent American Idol. Click through to that, and they're featuring an "i-Tunes Essentials" playlist called "Hope & Change."
For the iPod-less, there are many playlists that are created by users, but the "Essentials" lists are made by Apple. It says it was posted April 28, but sounds like it was posted January 20. See the goopy Obama-loving text that came with the songs:
Welcome to the beginning of a new era in the U.S. – Barack Obama's history-making win is really a victory for all those who keep the faith and firmly believe that people have the power to make a change. John Lennon was one of rock ‘n' roll's most determined dreamers, and the better world he dared to "Imagine" may finally be within our grasp. ["Imagine there's no Heaven," and Obama makes it happen?]