Sunday, February 11, 2007

Greatest Rock 'n Roll band on TV

When The Rolling Stones released their album A Bigger Bang to coincide with their 2006 tour, there was a small outburst of clucking on the cable news channels about "Neocon" (I think the name is), a song blasting the Bush Administration. Someone gave me the CD for Christmas, and I listened to it in my car and had a chuckle over the lyrics. "Go get 'em, Mick!" The cable-news culture warriors had not much clue about the Stones, which surprised me as about half of the commentators (the older half) are squarely chronological Boomers who ought to be embarrased if they weren't rolling joints on their Satanic Majesties covers thirty-five years ago. It was taken of course as a sign of the administration's burgeoning unpopularity, but overlooked that a) the Stones have often had a political tune on their albums over the years and b) the lyrics were really nothing more than an expression of what is almost universal European opinion ("How come you're so wrong, neocon?" was the refrain). But what strikes me is that while the latest Stones album, with its one "social commentary," was clucked over so much while we got nary a peep about Living With War, the recent statement from Neil Young. I'm going to try to find some sales figures on the two albums and see how they measure up. Young's album is devoted entirely to his opposition to the Iraq war, with connections to his concerns about consumerism and the environment well filled in. "Ten thousand children scarred for life," "Let's impeach the president for lying." Well won't the cable news pundits feast on this one! Well, no. They are rather conspicuously not talking about it. It appears that some material is just tame enough to be fodder for the mill, but some is too far. Dixie Chicks in between I guess. Neil Young doesn't seem to have to worry too much about a hostile public, though. Why is that?

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