:: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 ::

Right-eous rock'n'roll
Via this post, I stumbled across this American Spectator piece by Mark Gauvreau Judge that unveils the startling truth that -- gasp -- political conservatives like rock'n'roll! I could have told them that. Let me introduce you to my neocon brother, the Hendrix freak.

But he goes beyond that to wrest rock from the hands of the infidels and claim it for the right. Rock music is right music because it is orderly, tight, structured.
Music is about sound, and rock and roll is a conservative sound. It is often a simple and primitive sound. What rock fans -- and conservatives -- often miss about pop music is that a song's primitivism or simplicity does not make it heathen. Indeed, in the very simplicity of the music of much rock music there is order as tight as the divine love that, as Dante wrote, puts the stars in circular motion. The rhythm of a river rolling over stones is a large part of what makes it beautiful, as is the repetition of the waves rising and dropping on a beach. A pop song has an order -- verse, verse, chorus, verse, break, or some variation thereof -- and juxtaposes this order with lyrics that either bolster its order with declarations of love or provide tension by expressing sorrow and loss. ... The rock and roll art form is a thrilling representation of the Christian paradox of human failing and original sin in the midst of God's perfect creation and love. The beat, the chord changes, the guitars all declare order, beauty and perfection, while the lyrics and the singer lament that perfection, due to the human condition -- original sin -- which can never truly be perfect.
So, rock'n'roll is conservative, orderly, a representation of the divine. I can buy that, to an extent. But how does orderly equate to political conservatism? Hasn't this guy watched Hannity and Colmes? Hasn't he seen the screeching heads -- from both ends of the political spectrum -- engage in their nightly shoutfests? What's so orderly about that?

Moreover, the author is arguing from a conservative angle. He's looking at mainstream artists, mainstream rock'n'roll. Each of the examples of rockers he cites -- from AC/DC to the Beatles -- have all become mainstream. But plenty of "mainstream" artists to arise in recent years have created music that does not adhere to the conservative structure of the rock examples he cites. Compare Devo's cover of that quintessential rock song, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," with the Rolling Stones original, and you'll get my drift. Or think about the Talking Heads' off-kilter stylings with "Once in a Lifetime." Conservative? Nope. Rock'n'Roll? Well... Heck, even jazz and classical break the rules of conservatism with great effect.

I wonder, too, if he's ever listened to Anti-Flag or Bad Religion.


:: Andrew 07:50 + ::

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