Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sir Mick slaps Dubya

Yes, the Rolling Stones about to fill up stadiums again and the writers are dusting off their 'lock up your grandmothers' jokes. Oh, and they have a new album out too. This fact would generally elicit a shrug from anyone except their most rabid fans (and even then...) but this time, the ever-clever Mick Jagger has slipped in a little wink that was brilliantly calculated to garner media coverage.

Even though only some reviewers have heard it, a few lines of the song "Sweet Neocon" have been Net-talk favorites already. Sorry you can't sing along yet- truth be known, I haven't heard it either. Here's the prime lines that are making the rounds:

"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite
You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of sh*t."

Again, being a wise guy, Jagger's insisted that this isn't specifically about President Bush. Rather than being scarred of Dubya's wrath, he understands that at least the appearance of a little artistic distant gives him some credibility. In other words, overt political slogans make better bumper stickers than songs: if you don't believe me compare Robert Wyatt's "Stalin Wasn't Stallin'" to his "Shipbuilding." Of course, lines like the ones Jagger penned now are obviously a swipe at Bush just the same way that Fox News claims it's 'fair and balanced' but obviously ain't.
The problem here is Jagger's words are just so damn obvious. Some Democrats will be glad to turn an unadulterated Stones lyric into a banner or sign but as for lyrics itself, they don't look like sing-a-long material. If you look at the best Stones material (say '64-'72), you'll notice that the only politics that the boys almost always espoused were sexual politics, unless you want to count "Street Fighting Man" (which was a correspondence from the front lines). Since American politics resembles out-and-out warfare now and the sexual revolution that the Stones chronicled is old news, what buttons do these supposed bad boys have left to push?

To Jagger's credit, his ploy worked and as with this entry, the album's getting press now like they haven't gotten for a record since... most of us can remember. But is the record any good? Is "Sweet Neocon" a good song? Most of us don't know yet. And maybe it won't matter by the time the album actually comes out. Let's see if it's in their set the next time they tour in a few years and especially if some 'intelligent design' president is in office. Then, what the hell is Jagger going to try to rebel against and get some press...?


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