As bombs blast Baghdad, and the pro-war constituents cheer for the liberation of Iraq, the anti-war vocalists, those musicians who out of one side of their mouths shout anti-war epithets and out of the other provide nothing more than feed the media PR sound bytes that appear to do nothing more than promote theselves through the guise of making a public statement against the war. Where are the real songs?
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper's excellent piece today calls the musical elite out on the carpet.
[…] few of today's pop artists seem concerned with turning out peace anthems to counter the drumbeats of war Even the exceptions seem more like calculated career moves than passionate calls for peace. Madonna's upcoming song (and video), “American Life,” might end up on Saddam's CD player, but the true chorus of the song is: “Forget about 'Swept Away,' I'm still relevant!!!” […]
Roeper doesn't give anyone a break.
[…] George Michael appeared on the BBC's “Tops of the Pops” recently, with four female background musicians wearing T-shirts that said, “No War, Blair Out.” Oooh, confrontational. But what does Michael have to lose? His post bathroom-arrest career options are pretty much limited to a Wham! reunion, a role on the next edition of “The Surreal Life”–or a “controversial” song that is stirring controversy only in the hearts of the publicists promoting it. […]
And my favorite.
[…] So who will lead the pop charge against the war? Eminem dressed up as Osama bin Laden and clowned around on the video for “Without Me,” but the song wasn't about international tensions, it was about Eminem's favorite subject, Eminem. Is the Emster furiously at work on an obscenity-riddled protest rap, or maybe even something along the lines of a song titled “F— the French,” or is he too busy vacationing and dodging the Oscars? Canada's Avril Lavigne is suitably young enough and perpetually pissed off enough to flip the musical bird to the White House, but is she too preoccupied with her lost “Sk8terboi” and her next photo session to get involved? […]
And who wrote…?
[…] “Come you masters of war, you that build all the guns, you that build the death planes, you that build the big bombs, you that hide behind walls, you that hide behind desks, I just want you to know I can see through your masks” […]
Bob Dylan. 1963.
Not one for trivia or nostalgia, but Roeper's got quite a few examples of real anti-war songs he suggests should be in heavy rotation this week. But don't count on it. To Roeper's point and to my earlier post on Safire's French Connection, follow the money. Many of today's artists are phony, self-dealing and hypocritical. Sure, there are many exceptions. Who do you think puts their money, career and passion where their mouth is today?