Archive for May 27th, 2006

Both National Review and Reactionary Radicals have published lists of their top 50 (National Review – click here to see the list) or top 40 (Reactionary Radicals – click here) pop songs. This seems to be more a compilation of songs that reflect their social and political views than, necessarily, the ones they like best. In NR’s case this is explicit–it’s the top 50 "conservative" songs. I use the quotes because I think they’re stretching their case past the breaking point for many of the songs.

There’s a lot of stuff on both these lists that I don’t know. Of
what I know, I like maybe half of it. I don’t think there are more than
half a dozen songs between them that I really love. I do want to
express my complete dismay that the Jefferson Airplane’s "Volunteers"
is on the Reactionary Radicals list. I came to loathe that song and
the entire album of which it was a part, considering it the worst of
brainless late ’60s content-free revolutionism.

Every now and then something bumps me up against the fact that I’m just not as politically driven as a lot of people are. This is a bit scary, as I have pretty strong political views. Like a lot of pop music fans, I have a bad habit of compiling lists, at least mentally. But it has never, ever crossed my mind to make a list of songs that contain messages that I agree with. I’m almost at a loss for words to describe how alien that whole idea is to my sensibility. If I were to try to come up with a C et T top 40, I think it would just end up being songs I like. I suppose I could try to filter them to find ones that are directly relevant. I’m sure it would contain a lot of Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen. Some Tom Waits. Clarence Ashley and Doc Watson singing "Amazing Grace." Some old-time country, some old-time blues. Some mid-60s innocence-and-wonder songs.

Anyone who wants to play this game from whatever they imagine the C et T point of view to be is welcome to add their nominations. Maybe I’ll even make a list.

UPDATE: It occurred to me later that I ought to acknowledge the nice mention of Caelum et Terra at the Reactionary Radicals blog. Thanks, y’all.


Maclin Horton

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