Pro-war songs are climbing the charts
War — what is it good for? Well, for singers like Darryl Worley, Clint Black, Bo Diddley, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, it’s good for a quick career boost. Worley’s pro-war (or pro-American, as he prefers) anthem ”Have You Forgotten” is No. 1 on the country singles chart, while Black’s ”I Raq and Roll” is No. 43 and climbing (Skynyrd’s ”Red, White and Blue” is No. 15 on the mainstream rock chart). But does patriotism with a beat equal a good song? We take a closer look:
”Have You Forgotten,” Darryl Worley
Sounds like Slide guitars ring out like chimes of freedom and organs swell like eagles’ wings as Worley accuses war protestors of forgetting the horror of 9/11. He croons that attacking Iraq is a justified act of vengeance, and that antiwar folk are complacent about the threat from Osama bin Laden. (Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s name never comes up.)
Telling lyric ”Some say this country’s just out looking for a fight/Well, after 9/11, man, I’d have to say that’s right.”
Verdict Donald Rumsfeld couldn’t have done better. Patriotism: A Lyrical logic: D
”We Ain’t Scared of You,” Bo Diddley
Sounds like Over an endearingly ramshackle backing that sounds more like garage-band James Brown than his own classic beat, rock legend Diddley talk-sings threats against Saddam Hussein while adding a pep talk for Americans. A mixed-gender choir replaces Diddley’s gravelly vocals for the ”We ain’t scared” chorus.
Telling lyric ”We are Americans/We’re coming with a big shovel and we want you to understand/We’re coming over to dig you out of that sand.”
Verdict Hey, it’s Bo freakin’ Diddley. And at least he knows the difference between Osama and Saddam. B
”I Raq and Roll,” Clint Black
Sounds like In bluesy verses that bear an odd resemblance to Bon Jovi’s ”Wanted Dead or Alive,” Black twangs that peace activists are on Saddam’s side. He goes on to brag of the U.S. military’s technological prowess, listing by name such innovations as smart bombs and GPS.
Telling lyric ”It might be a smart bomb/They find stupid people too/And if you stand with the likes of Saddam/One just might find you.”
Verdict Cool lead guitars, but threatening to bomb protestors is kind of, well, un-American. C
”Red, White and Blue,” Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sounds like This rootsy, piano-driven track avoids the details of the war debate, instead devoting itself to touting Skynyrd’s own working-class, patriotic credentials. Along the way, though, the lyrics do suggest that those who disagree with the nation’s policies might want to leave its borders at their earliest opportunity.
Telling lyric ”My hair’s turning white/My neck’s always been red/My collar’s still blue.”
Verdict Play ”Free Bird,” man. C+