Prayuth Chan-ocha – Because You Are Thailand

Not too many heads of country are pop stars?

Chan-ocha is the prime minister of Thailand, and writes patriotic and nostalgic songs for and about his country.

If we join hands … the day we hope for is not far away,” sings someone on his behalf, as the leader is more like the Bernie Taupin, to Elton John…

Yet critics might think all this to be adult contemporary propaganda – imagine John Tesh with a rifle pointed at you? The man is in power as he took it via the military (a “coup d’état”) in 2014. The military, under his direction today, is not tolerant of dissent.

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Stevie Wonder – He’s Misstra Know-It-All

This song by Stevie Wonder, on his phenomenal social and musical achievement, the Innervisions album of 1973, takes on the 37th US president, Richard Nixon. Well, the lyrics detail an over-confident, know-it-all trickster. But it was widely figured to be about “Tricky Dick.”

You might today feel it applies to President Donald Trump, too, with verses like:

Makes a deal
With a smile
Knowin’ all the time that his lie’s a mile
He’s Misstra know-it-all

Must be seen
There’s no doubt
He’s the coolest one with the biggest mouth
He’s Misstra know-it-all

Also by Stevie Wonder and reviewed here:

Some other songs here about Richard Nixon:

AKB48 – Kimi Wa Melody

Infectious bubble gum pop ecstasy, or borderline “ear worm” annoying?

AKB48 (pronounced A.K.B. Forty-eight) is a Japanese pop act, a super-group not just in their popularity throughout Asia, but because somehow the band has more than 100 members.

The group has found controversy for seeming to use underage sexual imagery in lyrics and videos, and at public appearances such as in their own theatre. For example, a magazine photo showed a member with her naked breasts covered by what looked like a child’s hands.

AKB48 is also seen as providing examples of strong female role models to Japanese culture, in a larger society that is seeking to make gains for gender equality. But another member shaved her head as some sort of apology, after she stayed over night with a man.

Coven – One Tin Soldier

An AM radio anti-war message that highlights the ignorance of greed.

This song was originally done by a Canadian band, The Original Caste, but this 1971 version is better known, having been in a film, “Billy Jack.”

It’s a song with a story. It resonates on listening, with the Pachelbel Canon type melody. The lyrics might seem simplistic and Dr. Seuss-like when summarized in print.

There is a nation or country (the mountain people), and a warring nation or country (the valley people). The mountain people have a hidden treasure that they will share with the valley people. But the valley people want it all for themselves. So they kill off the good guys. But then… spoiler alert… the treasure is just a message about peace!

The joke’s on the you, genocidal valley boys and girls!

International conflict is rarely this simple and never this hummable!

Beach Boys – Roll Plymouth Rock

“Smile” is the legendary Beach Boys album that consumed Brian Wilson in its development. This pastiche has the surfer boys harmonizing about American Indians losing their land and identity. A “ribbon of concrete” eroded a culture and history of an entire people.

Sort of that’s what this is about. Who knows! The reach could be broader than native Americans, because the song, sometimes or formerly known as Do You Like Worms, also puts into melody a Hawaiian thanksgiving prayer.

Ernest Van “Pop” Stoneman – The Titanic

Born in a log cabin, motherless from a toddler on, and proficient at many instruments, Stoneman (1893-1986) helped pioneer American country music. This song, from 1915 or 1916, is also known as “It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down” and “Titanic (Husbands and Wives).” Its composer is not known.

There is something about popular culture that loves tragedy, the way drivers also slow down to get a look at a car accident. Some critics of government like to claim that high profile accidents and disasters are used as excuses for further state intervention in our lives, and correspondingly, less personal freedom.

Thus, a ship sinking leads to oceanic regulations, the way a terrorist attack leads to phone tapping with the U.S. Patriot Act?

See also: Céline Dion – My Heart Will Go On

Ani Difranco – Self Evident

Difranco gets a lot off her mind in this 2002 poem of a song. It highlights the anger many artists felt about U.S. policy in the 2000s. It covers 9/11 and terrorism, abortion, energy policy, the media and technology, elections and more… all with a hate on for George W. Bush.

The scope is impressive, though could one wonder if the singer appreciates the depth of detail to be an authority on so much? It could be seen as a laundry list of political issues and areas many of us could be better informed about.

The style is similar to another Difranco song, Amendment.