They Might Be Ringtones
They've conquered the fringy, underground, comical Alternative Pop/College Rock world and have done some damage in the rough-and-tumble children's music market, but now They Might Be Giants have their sights set on ... your phone. The endlessly clever duo recently posted three downloadable ring tones at theymightbegiants.com. The first two are bluntly silly (the punky "Phone Phone Phone" and the quirky "Ring Ring"), but the third is a hoot. The 'tone "Call Connected Thru The NSA" is a peppy jingle for our phone-monitoring friends at the National Security Agency: "Call connected through the NSA/Complete transmission through the NSA/Suspending your rights through the duration of the permanent war." Note to self: Watch what you say on the phone, especially when calling They Might Be Giants.
Fighting for the Right to Rock
Conservatives have already succeeded in brainwashing the public about what "family values" are and are not, and now they're telling us what our Rock & Roll means! In the wake of Neil Young's Bush-bashing new album and claims that all the best Rock music leans left, reporter John J. Miller cleverly compiled a list of the Top 50 "Greatest Conservative Rock Songs" for the neo-con bible, National Review. Miller asked for suggestions from readers last year and then dug through the nominees' lyrics for signs of conservative ideals ("such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values," he writes). What he didn't take into consideration was sarcasm and role-playing, but we have to admit, it's a pretty fun list.
The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" — which we can almost guarantee will be used ad nauseum during rallies by the Democratic candidate in the next presidential election — tops the list, with Miller calling it an "oath that swears off naive idealism once and for all." The rest of the Con 50 includes The Beatles' "Taxman" (down with taxes!), The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice ("pro-abstinence and pro-marriage"), The Sex Pistols' "Bodies" (anti-abortion), The Pretenders' Rush Limbaugh co-opted "My City Was Gone" ("dissatisfaction with rapid change") and Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun" (guns are great ... they stop rape!). You can see the whole list — fittingly, "complete with purchasing links" — at nationalreview.com. Commenting on the list in The New York Times, legendary music critic Dave Marsh said the list reflects sour grapes and desperation from the right after losing the culture war: "Once you lose that battle, you lose the war, and then a different kind of battle begins: the battle over meaning."
A DJ and producer at Delaware radio station WGMD recently aired a grievance against the Red Hot Chili Peppers. On the station's morning show, DJ Dan Gaffney and his producer Jared Morris pointed out how strikingly similar the verse of the Peppers' new hit, "Dani California," is to Tom Petty's 1990 single "Mary Jane's Last Dance." He played them back to back (and over top of each other) and, indeed, it appears to be a direct "homage," with nearly identical chord progressions and melodies (to hear for yourself, check out the audio from Gaffney's breakdown at wgmd.com). Petty doesn't seem the litigious type, but if anyone should sue the Peppers, it's themselves. Everyone knows they've just been rewriting "Under the Bridge" for the past 15 years. But where were these guys when Jack White and The Raconteurs' single, "Steady, As She Goes" came out? The foundational bass line on the verses of that song is equally identical to Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him?"