Tag Archives | Pop Culture

Hit Pakistani Pop Song About Deadly Drone Strikes

Dance songs reflecting the new reality. The Guardian provides context:
In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan's tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone. [It's] a sign of how the routine hunting down and killing of militants by unmanned CIA planes has leached into the popular imagination. The repeated chorus: "My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack". The hit for singer Sitara Younis follows her success last year with another love ballad, which warns a besotted man to keep his distance: "Don't chase me, I'm an illusion, a suicide bomb." Maas Khan Wesal, a Pashtu music veteran who wrote the accompanying music, said the song had proved popular because it reflected the lives of Pashtu speakers on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
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What ‘Hair’ Can Teach Us About Current Social Justice Struggles

Agnieszka Karoluk writes at Diatribe Media:

I was about 11 or 12 years old and my father was so excited to finally let me watch his favorite movie, Hair (based off the 1968 Broadway musical of the same title). The opening scene shows a young man from farmland Oklahoma saying goodbye to his father as he gets on a bus to New York City. What follows is a psychedelic story of rebellion, love, loss, sex, drugs and every human emotion you can imagine all packed into a musical frenzy of hippies and yuppies, military men and hustlers.

For those of you who have never seen it, the young Oklahoman travels to New York City because he was chosen in the draft and needed to report to the U.S. Army base. On his first day in the city, he meets a group of hippies: Wolf, Hud, Janie and Berger. Along with these four, Claude Bukowski gets into all sorts of mischief and mishaps including a few drug-induced adventures and dreams, falling in love with a daughter of a high-society man and a few ethical dilemmas.

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It Was 50 years Ago Today: The North Of England Taught the Band to Play…

Picture: US LOC (PD)

The 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ UK release of “Love Me Do” is being celebrated by a number of media outlets here including The BBC and The Guardian. The latter carries a great article which reprints a 1963 review of the UK’s first home grown contemporary global pop phenomenon:

Written across the front of St George’s Hall, Liverpool (a building dear to the heart of John Betjeman), are huge chalked letters declaring: “I Love the Beatles.” There is hardly anything cryptic about this declaration to anyone who has ever viewed Juke Box Jury, listened to Pick of the Pops, or fathered a teenage daughter, for in the last six months the Beatles have become the most popular vocal-instrumental group in Britain, and as everyone with any pretension towards mass culture should know, the Beatles are from Liverpool.

In fact, there is a connection between Liverpool and the four young musicians that seems to go deeper than pride for hometown boys; something, perhaps deep in the mysterious well of English and especially northern working-class sentimentality.

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The Music Of L. Ron Hubbard

It's little known that L. Ron Hubbard left behind a body of musical compositions, lyrics, and sound experiments intended as a soundtrack for the Battlefield Earth series and to promote the ethos of Scientology. John Travolta, teenybopper heartthrob Leif Garrett, and Frank Stallone, all heard singing below, were part of a Scientology super-group who recorded an album of Hubbard-penned songs in 1986. An odder, alternate version of "Road to Freedom" features L. Ron himself crooning in a low, booming voice, with the track retitled "L'Envoi, Thank You for Listening." Two stanzas include: You are not mind or chemicals / You don't even have a form / You're in a trap of senseless lies / It's time to be reborn. / To you there is no limit / Knowledge is your key / Take the route of auditing / And once again be free.
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An Oral History Of Gay Punk

It’s exciting when something happens in the news that reminds you how subversive punk rock can be. Via OUT, a conversation featuring remembrances from Bruce LaBruce, Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, and numerous notable others about a movement which changed the world, whether people know it or not:

The Queercore scene grew out of a generation that bristled against what it saw as the bourgeois trappings of a mainstream gay lifestyle and the macho, hetero hardcore scene that punk — a movement founded by women, people of color, and gays — had become. It started out as a loose collective, trading fanzines and letters, and evolved to include dozens of bands.

There was a gay element to early punk, such as the Los Angeles group The Germs — whose singer was the closeted Darby Crash—as well as Seattle transplants The Screamers, The Apostles in the U.K., and, in Texas, The Dicks.

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Deceased Beastie Boy MCA’s Will Prevents His Being Used In Advertising, For Eternity

A brilliant final touch from Adam Yauch, who inserted an integrity clause into his will to prevent his music from ever being co-opted — if only other cultural icons past had thought to do this. Via DNAinfo:

Late Beastie Boys member MCA made sure he would never be a corporate sellout — even in the afterlife. The pioneering rapper, whose real name is Adam Yauch, instructed in his will that his image, music and any art he created could not be used for advertising, saving himself from the fate of other deceased musicians whose faces and songs have become corporate shills.

It’s unclear whether Yauch’s will would prevent his bandmates from ever selling the music they wrote together to advertisers. Yauch’s lawyer and a spokesman for the Beastie Boys did not respond to requests for comment. Yauch died May 4 at the age of 47 from salivary cancer.

Corporations have regulalry enlisted deceased musicians, celebrities and historical figures in ads.

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Pussy Riot’s Closing Statement Denounces ‘Totalitarian System’

The eloquent and defiant closing statement from band member Yekaterina Samutsevich in the Pussy Riot trial explains the meaning (which Americans might not have understood) behind the punk band’s acts of art. Via chtodelat, translated:

I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.

During the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary.

The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Lost Classics Of Right Wing Folk Music

CONELRAD keeps alive the memory of one of the strangest of pop music subgenres--conservatism-themed folk music artists of the 1960s who were promoted in an unsuccessful attempt to counter the Bob Dylans and Peter Paul & Marys of the scene. Perhaps most fascinating is Janet Greene, a former children's television personality in Ohio who was discovered by the right wing organization Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, which had Greene record a series of propagandistic songs and marketed her as the "anti-Joan Baez".  The most entertaining work in her catalogue is "Poor Left Winger", a tale of woe concerning a naive girl seduced by a communist beatnik "bearded singer" mocked for his "espresso", "demonstrations", and dirty shirt:
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