Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental prop jet mechanic Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to Tinseltown, i.e. fabulous Hollywood California, for a weekend story conference about the most eagerly awaited Marvel Comics superhero film adaptation of them all. Yes, the X-Men's Iceman is finally getting his own movie, and frankly there has never been a better High Concept than the one genius creator Stan Lee came up with back in 1963: A man is bitten by a radioactive ice cube. Who amongst us does not remember where we were when we first read his origin story.....
In any case, and because things will be relatively quiet around here for a couple of days, here's a fun and not particularly relevant to anything in particular little project to help us wile away the hours till we return:
Best or Worst Pre-Punk or Post-Punk Politically Themed Rock Record!!!
Just in case you don't see where I'm going with this, I'm specifically excluding first generation punk bands like the Sex Pistols or the Clash because they're just a little obvious. And I'm insisting that we limit the discussion specifically to rock records, for sort of the same reason -- all that early Dylan or Phil Ochs folkie protest stuff is way too obvious.
And yes, I'm sure we've done something more or less similar to this in the past, but I've been kind of obsessing on the awfulness of our national discourse of late, so indulge me.
And with all that stuff out of the way, my totally top of my head Top Five is/are:
5. Vince Vance and the Valiants -- Bomb Iran
This is so offensive in so many ways that it's hard to enumerate, and it has been ever since it first appeared in 1980. I should add that John McCain's reintroduction of it to the American public during the 2008 campaign is yet one more reason that there's a special mavericky Circle of Hell awaiting him.
4. The Beach Boys -- Student Demonstration Time
I suspect that rewriting the Leiber and Stoller prison classic to reflect the political turmoil of the early 70s seemed like a good idea at the time, and in fairness what resulted is a terrific performance and production. Unfortunately, it sounds crassly opportunistic and condescending to contemporary ears (or at least mine) and I've got to say it comes damn close to ruining the otherwise wonderful Surfs Up album for me.
3. Tonio K. -- La Bomba
Words fail me. In this case, words in Spanish.
2. Randy Newman -- A Few Words in Defense of Our Country
"Let's turn history's pages, shall we?" Okay, this isn't a rock record, but Newman's a genius and his own category, so I'm making an exception. Besides, this characteristically ironic rumination on the USA in the waning days of the unimaginable catastrophe that was the Bush-Cheney era is perhaps the profoundest thing the guy has ever written. Certainly it's the most depressing.
And the Numero Uno "Up Against the Wall, Running-Dog Lackey of the Bourgeoisie" rockers of them all clearly have to be....
1. Rage Against the Machine -- Bullet in Your Head
I basically think these guys hearts are in the right place, and Tom Morello is a pretty cool guitarist, if not particularly my cuppa tea, stylistically. But gimme a break, RATM -- the revolution will most definitely not be televised. More to the point, it will not be marketed by Epic Records and the Sony Corporation, the capitalist megaliths for whom you toil. For money.
Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?