John J. Miller at the National Review recently put together a list of the "Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs of All Time." Needless to say, some of the choices seemed more the product of Miller's analytical desperation and tin ear rather than anything inherent to the song. (The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" as an argument against moral relativism?) The Who's Pete Townshend has even spoken out against his song "Won't Get Fooled Again" landing at No. 1. (You can see what other suggestions readers of War Room had for the list here.)
In the spirit of Miller's list, here are 10 seemingly conservative or innocuous songs that, with a little creativity, can be made to yield liberal or, dare we say it, even subversive messages:
1. Toby Keith, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)"
A scathing, ironic indictment of conservatives' use of symbolic language and the violent aftermath (also note the progressive assignation of democracy as a female entity): "Man, it's gonna be hell/ When you hear Momma Freedom start ringin' her bell."
2. Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Red, White and Blue"
The veteran Southern rockers offer a rebuke to upper-bracket tax breaks: "My Daddy worked hard, and so have I/ Paid our taxes and gave our lives to serve this great country/ So what are they complaining about?"
3. Merle Haggard, "Okie From Muskogee"
Haggard sympathizes with the plight of liberals forced underground by restrictive social mores: "We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee/ We don't take our trips on LSD/ We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street/ We like livin' right, and bein' free."
4. The Knack, "My Sharona"
A mainstay on the president's iPod, this song offers a provocative inquiry into the psychological state of the sexually deviant: "Is it just destiny, destiny?/ Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?/ Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind/ Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind."
5. Metallica, "Don't Tread on Me"
Deciphering conservative doublespeak: "So be it/ Threaten no more/ To secure peace is to prepare for war."
6. Barry Sadler, "The Ballad of the Green Beret"
Contrasting the integrity and bravery of the troops with that of those who send them to war: "Fighting soldiers from the sky/ Fearless men who jump and die/ Men who mean just what they say/ The brave men of the Green Beret."
7. Jimmie Rodgers, "T for Texas"
A comment on red state inhospitality: "I'd rather drink your muddy water/ Sleep down in a hollow log/ Than to be in Atlanta, Georgia/ Treated like a dirty dog."
8. Grand Funk Railroad, "We're an American Band"
The "American" temperament as essentially communal and hedonistic: "We're an American band/ We're coming to your town/ We'll help you party it down/ We're an American band."
9. Lee Greenwood, "God Bless the USA"
A sad look back at pre-Patriot Act America: "I'd thank my lucky stars, to be livin' here today/ 'Cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can't take that away."
10. George Michael, "Freedom"
Realpolitik as currently practiced -- think WMD: "All we have to do now/ Is take these lies/ And make them true somehow."
-- David Marchese