Several years ago on a message board, someone shared this “essay” on the Conservapedia site. This was the first I’d ever heard of Conservapedia, the regressive, pro-conservative, anti-liberal website. It bills itself as “The Trustworthy Encyclopedia.” Of course, in conservaspeak, that means “everything here is slanted to our narrow worldview so our readers don’t get threatened by new or different ideas or facts.”
This particular article — actually a list in the form of a table — claims to be a list of conservative songs. “There are many brilliant—and popular—conservative songs. Here is our growing list,” it begins. This is followed by a table with the song, artist and a snippet of lyric or description of why the song is conservative. These comments are poorly written and, often, way off base. The effort to twist lyrics to fit the conservative point of view is painful to see.
“Classic” songs: Folk, Soul, Traditional, and Rock make up most of the list, which is divided into confusing sections. In the “Spiritual” section, for example, we find “Stand By Your Man,”Taxman” and “That Smell.” Um, okay. There are songs on the list that fall into my favorite genre of Progressive Rock. These songs I can easily refute. There are Country/Western songs here which, as it’s not my genre, I can’t say much about. I’ll leave that to others. Here are some of the songs and comments that leave one to assume that the author of this list either didn’t listen to all of any given song or didn’t understand it. The original comments from the list are italicized.
“Chores” (Animal Collective) “Now I’ve got these chores / and I’m not gonna hurt no-one” — Hard work is praised and violence is discouraged. A scary song for liberals! What’s scary is that the next verse is ignored; “I want to get so stoned/And take a walk out in the light drizzle.” Oops.
“Dissident” (Pearl Jam) About a woman who engages in liberal values by being impregnated out of wedlock and having an abortion, but immediately regrets doing so. Pearl Jam is very much not conservative. This song is open to interpretation, and the author of the article puts his own spin on it. Only Pearl Jam really knows what it means.
“Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)“(Fleetwood Mac) Used by Bill Clinton as his campaign theme song in 1992, but liberals often try to appeal to conservative themes for elections. Lolwhut? I have four words for you: “Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” That is not a conservative theme.
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (The Hollies) Repeats the slogan of Boys Town, a Christian charity for youngsters founded by Father Edward J. Flanagan in Omaha. That may be so but the song is about caring for one another, a decidedly non-conservative view: “It’s a long, long road/From which there is no return/While we’re on the way to there/Why not share…”
“Supper’s Ready” (Genesis) … children home, To take them to the new Jerusalem. (I did not truncate that, that is how it appears) This is a multi-movement Prog song that does end with a description of Armageddon. However, the entire song, taken as a whole, has many messages. It has sections that involve a couple, some very weird sections that Genesis fans love to debate and it has some religious imagery used as a metaphor. Metaphor is a big word that some conservatives just don’t understand.
“Red Barchetta” (Rush) Tells the story of a future with excessive regulation, where even driving is illegal. While the “Motor Law” mentioned in the song does prohibit driving there is no explanation of why. The assumption that this is because of “excessive regulation” is confirmation bias in action. Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson said that the car is “a metaphor for sexuality and freedom.” Oh, there’s that pesky “M” word again.
“You Can’t Hurry Love (You Just Have to Wait)” (The Supremes) Abstinence for rock fans. Well, in that one is usually abstinent when they aren’t in a relationship, I suppose. But this song is obviously about someone who keeps losing in that department but holds out hope due to “Mama’s words.” It’s all there in the song.
“Yours Is No Disgrace” (Yes) Written to, and about, the troops headed for Vietnam. Here’s the thing; Jon Anderson writes some weird-ass lyrics and trying to understand them is confusing. Here’s an interview with him in which he talks about this song. Though there is a message to soldiers that the fighting and killing is not on them, but on the governments who start wars, there is nothing in this song to indicate it’s specifically about Vietnam. Blaming the higher-ups for war is not a very conservative view.
“No Son Of Mine” (Genesis) There is no comment for this song. One can only assume, then, that child abuse is a conservative value. And this is, after all, what they tell their gay sons when they come out.
“In Your Eyes“: (Peter Gabriel) Love and a 1000 churches for those who are lost. Huh? Once again, we see that the concept of metaphor is beyond the grasp of the author of this “essay.” Gabriel, for the record, says the song can refer “… to either the love between a man and woman or the relationship between a person and God.”
“The Big Money” (Rush) Pro-capitalism. This is the song that started this whole thing. Someone on the MB posted about this, one of the most egregious cases of not reading/understanding the lyrics. There is one line that could be construed as “pro-capitalism”: “Big money done a power of good.” This, at the end of the song, is followed immediately by “Big money got a heavy hand/Big money take control/Big money got a mean streak/Big money got no soul…” The message of the song is that money, while it can get things done, destroys as much as it creates. Again, not a very conservative viewpoint.
There are some songs on the list that do carry a conservative message, many of them by right-wing bands like The Right Brothers, Casting Crowns and JoDanMedia. Any song that even mentions freedom, America, marriage, God, guns — you know, the conservative playbook — is on this list. I urge you to look for yourself. I’m sure your jaw will drop by mid-page.
Featured image via Wikipedia