Saturday, 13 April 2013

all the luck in the world

traintime
Sitting on a train, I was thinking about the kerfuffle around that 51 second musical tune.

Beyond the common decency and respect point, there's plenty of others to muse...

How stories get told, how points can be muted, how history's record is developed by the likes of Telegraph journo Charles Moore's supplicant biography and that Meryl Streep movie.

And now, the social media manipulation of populist information as a new form of agit-prop? Of course it also gives the media something easy and self referential to talk about.

It's drifted from folky tunes to popularise critical messaging, via punk, hip-hop and urban styles, now into a wall of digital graffiti.

I tried to think of songs related to recent-ish UK politicians by using Blair as a comparison, there's some...
  • Pulp - Cocaine Socialism (1998) : Jarvis Cocker critiques Cool Britannia and New Labour's attempts to woo the Britpop gang.
  • Radiohead - You and Whose Army? (2001): I loved OK Computer when it first came out and this one sings of politicians up against the wall.
  • George Michael - Shoot the Dog (2002): Yes well. And that video.
  • Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers (2007) : Nicky Wire on Blair's decline, post Iraq. Liberating zoo tigers may have unintended consequences.
  • Pet Shop Boys - I Get Along (2002): Having donated to Labour, Neil Tennant later writes sadly of Blair's break up with Mandelson.
  • Chumbawamba - Tony Blair (1999) : After that other song about getting knocked down and getting up again, throwing water over Prescott didn't help the sales of this band's tales of a double crosser.
  • Elbow - Snowball (2005): the one about a hundred thousand punctured souls.
  • Muse - Take a Bow (2006): asks the Iraq war creators to take a step forward.
More recently, for Cameron, it's curious. There's musicians who have stated they don't want their tunes used in Conservative events, like Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and the Smiths saying they are suspicious that Cameron claims to like their music.

Poppy boy-band One Direction managed to get around Cameron for a photo-opportunity, so I suppose he must like their music - or probably their reach into popular culture. The only real agit-prop I could quickly find was a version of Common People, about Cameron and Osborne.

It kind of makes Maggie's influence top of the pops for this, with more than 20 songs around, without even including the controversial show tune.

Of course, if we included Billy Bragg there'd be more, but for this process I'd only count one of his, like 'To have or have not', or maybe 'Thatcherites', although that last one might be more about John Major.

The same with Elvis Costello, where Shipbuilding doesn't even make buzzfeed's list.

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