RE: [fearnwhiskey] Re: songs about globalization
- My favourite Billy Bragg tune that's sort of on this subject is the
little-known, Clash-style rant, "North Sea Bubble," which begins with the
great line, "I went out drinking with Thomas Paine/ He said all revolutions
are not the same."
Also from Mermaid Ave. II, the perpetually applicable Guthrie/Bragg
broadside, "All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose," which talks in global
terms. And about half the songs on his last, "England/Half-English" deal
with the subject more directly, though it's a spotty disc overall.
- What about the Mekons? Certainly they've covered this subject.
"One good thing about music ... when it hits, you feel no pain."
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- At any mention of "Great Nations of Europe," I am forced to say "woo-hoo!"
From: Perfect Sound Forever [mailto:perfectlist@...]
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 11:25 AM
Subject: [fearnwhiskey] Re: songs about globalization
Randy Newman's "The Great Nations of Europe" (from Bad Love) definitely
belongs here. The Mekons catalog has a lot of globalization songs too-
several songs on OOOH! (Out of Our Heads) and Curse of the Mekons are
definitely on that tip.
- Oops, let's try that again. A pretty good list, despite including some
hippie-dippie crap, can be found here:
It includes Iris Dement's "Wasteland of the Free."
- Others to check out on this theme and loosely related ones:
Spearhead/Disposable Heroes of Hip-Hoprisy
Lyrics Born's new "The Last Trumpet" ("Healthcare battles bio-engineering /
for the worldwide scare of plague that we're fearing") (warning:
controversial stuff on terrorism, i think, for most american students)
El Vez (seriously! sort of!)
Springsteen's "Youngstown" ("From the Monongahela valley to the Mesabi iron
To the coal mines of Appalachia the story's always the same")
Propaghandi's "Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes"
Warsawpack (new Canadian band - Rage against the machine meets Acid jazz,
which is not as bad as it sounds actually)
Rickie Lee Jones' new "Tell Somebody (Repeal the Patriot Act)" (on "Evening
of My Best Day," a fair return to form just out).
Desaparecidos (Conor Oberst's punk band) - "$$$$" (" it's the dollar signs
and the big bright lights inequality franchised every location is mine you
just do your part form a line lets march under the golden arch march march
march march"); "Manana" ("we will cover the earth like air and water
tomorrow is blank well just fill it in with our little answers"); "The
Happiest Place on Earth," and the rest of that Read Music/Speak Spanish lp
Eric B. & Rakim, "Casualties of War" (1991 Gulf War rap)
Clash, "I'm So Bored With the USA" (no gettin' round it)
The soundtrack to the documentary "Life & Debt" (including Ziggy Marley,
Mutabaruka, Peter Tosh and even Buju Banton(!))
Radiohead, it has to be admitted
Asian Dub Foundation, "Basta"
- --On Friday, November 7, 2003 10:43 AM -0800 Lance Davis
> What about the Mekons? Certainly they've covered this subject.Great suggestion, Lance. (And Jason.) The Mekons's "Memphis, Egypt" is,
aside from being one of The Great Rock Songs of the 1980s, a great
summation of the transition from the Cold War as they walk through the wall
into globalized capitalism. And _Oooh!_ works as a post-2001 take on the
cultural dimensions to globalization and its discontents.
"Great Nations of Europe?" Yeah, certainly for the links between the
development of the world economic system and late-20th century spins on
capital's crusades. So between Newman and the Mekons, I can use songs
marking transitions among three major periods of international economic
With "Great Nations of Europe," "The World Isn't Fair," "Freud's
Impression," and a dozen others, Randy Newman is the historian's best
friend. Sometimes I wonder if he is partially responsible for my career
- --On Friday, November 7, 2003 1:40 PM -0500 "Wilson, Carl"
> My favourite Billy Bragg tune that's sort of on this subject is the_Don't Try This At Home_ is from start to finish my favorite Bragg record,
> little-known, Clash-style rant, "North Sea Bubble," which begins with the
> great line, "I went out drinking with Thomas Paine/ He said all
> revolutions are not the same."
and though it's been a while since I've listened to it, there are a few
relevant details sprinkled throughout from the guy driving a Mitsubishi
Zero to the rumors of war and the bubble Carl W. references. And Bragg's
an obvious source for articulating the last days of the the Cold War...
- --On Friday, November 7, 2003 6:23 PM +0000 Nina Melechen
> Of course, if you want examples of pop music *as* globalization, thereOh yeah. Cornershop is a fabulous example, especially as it became a hit
> are lots of those, too. Paul Simon's Graceland album, Cornershop's
> version of "Norwegian Wood,"
in England. Makes it a lot easier to track down than, say, Thai pop
versions of Madonna songs.
"Wilson, Carl" <cwilson@...> wrote:
> Paul Simon's Graceland album...The information overload depicted in "Boy in the Bubble" is at least mild
> true, though a lot of that album, much of which i think has held up beyond
> the controversy around its production, is actually *about* globalization,
> too, by fairly obvious inference. "these are the days of miracles and
> wonder, this is the long-distance call." i like that line. not actually
> that critical, much of the time, but still on the subject. i always assume
> "homeless" is a refugee-themed song, and "the myth of fingerprints" a
> post-colonial one.
criticism, and articulated in the context of Simon's fusion sensibilities
works better as a state-of-the-mid-80s song than most. (Peter Gabriel's
"Games Without Frontiers" comes to mind as well.)
If you buy the argument that deindustrialization in the United States and
England in the 1980s was a necessary condition for the revitalization of
capitalism, scores of songs ranging from Bruce Springsteen's "The River" to
Simply Red's "Money's Too Tight To Mention" and gobs of songs from British
punks might be useful as context. (The film Letter to Brezhnev fits as
well -- I don't have time to fit all of this into the class I'm teaching,
but I'm tempted to design an interdisciplinary course with a lot more films
and songs in the future.)
- Carl W:
> My favourite Billy Bragg tune that's sort of on this subject is theThat's a wonderful song. Speaking of Bragg, I just got my tix to see the
> little-known, Clash-style rant, "North Sea Bubble," which begins with
> the great line, "I went out drinking with Thomas Paine/ He said all
> revolutions are not the same."
Tell Us The Truth tour in Indy next Wednesday. Can't wait...
- --On Friday, November 7, 2003 1:56 PM -0500 "Wilson, Carl"
> Oops, let's try that again. A pretty good list, despite including someAnd a couple of Bruce Cockburn's higher-profile songs, though you could
> hippie-dippie crap, can be found here:
> It includes Iris Dement's "Wasteland of the Free."
tack up most of Cockburn's records from about 1979 on a wall, put a
blindfold on, throw darts and wind up hitting relevant titles. His more
recent albums play up the speed of travel and communications theme more,
but his songs cover military brutality, to the influx of trucks and
factories in Latin America, and (as the URL above mentions) the role of the
IMF in keeping poor nations poor. (That song, by the way, was the first
one I know of that got labeled because of the PMRC's scrutiny over lyrics.
Go figure that after all the hand-wringing over WASP that a song about
geopolitics would be the first one labelled.)
- On Wed, 12 Nov 2003, Barry Mazor wrote:
> I haven't been around much, so I mised this thread last week.Negativland did a cute skewering of that on their _Dispepsi_ album. Heck,
> I'd nominate "I''d Like to Give the World a Coke..."
I think there are a bunch of good gems on there to be used during a
discussion of globalization.
> Negativland did a cute skewering of that on their _Dispepsi_ album.Mark Hosler of Negativland gave a really interesting lecture in DC this
past weekend that I was lucky to have found out about -- it was all part
of some law conference at American Univ's law school, and it was not
(really) open to the public.
In any case, he gave a rambling-but-awesome history of Negativland with
some rad videos for "U2" and "Guns". Apparently that's sort of how he
makes a living nowadays, going around and talking about the legal troubles
Negativland went through, and making people think about all that stuff.
Well worth seeking out if he's ever lecturing near you -- although I'm not
quite sure how you'd find out if he is (?).
- --On Wednesday, November 12, 2003 2:13 PM -0500 Rob Jefferson
>> I'd nominate "I''d Like to Give the World a Coke..."Maybe as a musical bed. Either the unadulterated or ironic Coke jingles
> Negativland did a cute skewering of that on their _Dispepsi_ album.
> Heck, I think there are a bunch of good gems on there to be used during
> a discussion of globalization.
are very good ideas.
By the way, I've begun to use snippets of the suggestions in class this
week. "Great Nations of Europe" helped kick things off and I plan on using
the Mekons tomorrow, with other possibilities as we get closer to the 1990s
in class. (We've covered 500 years of world trade and geopolitics this
week, leading up to the late 1980s. The coverage will slow considerably
from here.) One of the good things about Randy Newman is his songs are
very short, so they don't take up too much class time; I may drop
"Political Science" in somewhere...
>One of the good things about Randy Newman is his songs areAnd concise, too, as Great Nations of Europe shows so well:
>very short, so they don't take up too much class time
"There were natives there called Guanches, Guanches by the score --
Bullets, disease, the Portugese, and they weren't there any more."
Yep, pretty much sums it up, Randy.
(See here for an alternate take on that line, by the way:
- --On Thursday, November 13, 2003 6:41 PM -0500 "Wilson, Carl"
>> One of the good things about Randy Newman is his songs areCliff's Notes couldn't whittle down Jared Diamond and William McNeill much
>> very short, so they don't take up too much class time
> And concise, too, as Great Nations of Europe shows so well:
> "There were natives there called Guanches, Guanches by the score --
> Bullets, disease, the Portugese, and they weren't there any more."
> Yep, pretty much sums it up, Randy.
more than that....