Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is "Ideology" the perfect song right now, or what?

So I'm reviewing the new BIlly Bragg album, Tooth and Nail, for Dusted, and as usual when I'm listening to his latter-day material, kind of wishing it was still 1987 and he was still brash and sardonic, and I still weighed 110 pounds and had perfect skin...but whatever. THe new record is actually not bad at all (this from a person who vehemently hated Love & Justice, the last Billy Bragg), though a bit too tasteful and mature to really matter. It's got a few good songs, one a Guthrie cover, one a Bragg protest song and one a lyrically clever, slightly twisted love song in the vein of (though not as good as) "Greetings to the New Brunette."

But what it all made me think of was how great Talking to the Taxman About Poetry and, in particular, how well "Ideology" captured our current fallen era, oh, pretty close to 30 years ago.

Check out the lyrics and see if you don't think Boehner, O'Connell, Ryan, McCain etc.

When one voice rules the nation
Just because they're top of the pile
Doesn't mean their vision is the clearest
The voices of the people
Are falling on deaf ears
Our politicians all become careerists

They must declare their interests
But not their company cars
Is there more to a seat in parliament
Than sitting on your arse
And the best of all this bad bunch
Is shouting to be heard
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Outside the patient millions
Who put them into power
Expect a little more back for their taxes
Like school books, beds in hospitals
And peace in our bloody time
All they get is old men grinding axes

Who've built their private fortunes
On the things they can rely
The courts, the secret handshake
The Stock Exchange and the old school tie
For God and Queen and Country
All things they justify
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

God bless the civil service
The nations saving grace
While we expect democracy
They're laughing in our face
And although our cries get louder
The laughter gets louder still
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Above the sound of ideologies,
Above the sound of ideologies,
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Remember when Billy Bragg did Letterman and just tore the roof off the sucker?

The revolution is just a tee-shirt away!

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