Last night, the ladies of RuPaul’s Drag Race campaigned to become the first drag president, and my beloved Sharon Needles said this year’s political season already seems like a drag show.
Preach it sister! Preach it up to the Lord!
Ahem. What I mean is that presidential politics always stress me out, but the current Republican primaries have really made me crazy. It seems like Santorum and Gingrich and all the rest have nightly meetings in a pup tent behind a Cracker Barrel to decide the most inflammatory things they can say the next day. Women can’t speak unless spoken to! Gays have to live on the Mars colony! We all have to pretend these haircuts look good!
Since I’m not a registered Republican, I can’t even vote for a candidate who can balance the wackiness. I mean, I support the candidates I do plan to vote for, but mostly, I feel helpless as I watch the carnival roll through town.
Thankfully, I’ve got songs. When I need to take a break, or rebuild my faith, or remember why I need to pay attention, I fire up some hits, and for three and a half minutes, they make this political climate easier to endure.
I’m pleased to share my top 3 Songs for Enduring the Republican Primaries. Which songs would be on your playlist?
[And if you are a Republican, that's great! Everyone is welcome here. Even if we disagree at the ballot box, I'll be we can unite around a sweet groove. Which tunes have become your political soundtrack?]
(1) “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men
This Icelandic folk-rock band would improve any situation… because who doesn’t love bouncy rhythms, sophisticated harmonies, and lush arrangements?
But the song “Little Talks” feels especially appropriate for our political climate. It’s sung between a man and a woman—old friends? old lovers?—who have grown estranged. They’re desperate to reconnect, and they admit that “the truth may vary” from day to day about who’s right and wrong.
So… you know. Divided people. Constant arguing. A fluctuating sense of who’s right. Listening to this song helps me feel hopeful that red and blue states might get over it for a minute.
(2) “Finest Worksong” by R.E.M.
Sometimes, I don’t want to make peace. Sometimes I want to rise up, and Lord have mercy, this classic R.E.M. tune always gets me going. The thundering beat and Michael Stipe’s lung-busting vocal make me want to run down the street with my fist in the air, shouting for a revolution. (As a bonus, there are sweaty, shirtless factory workers in the video.)
(3) “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus
Right??For just a few minutes, let’s imagine that being American is all about having a dance party. The kids from the sticks and the babes from Hollywood can all get along, and the butterflies (of political discord) can fly away.
Mark Blankenship has written about pop music for NPR and The New York Times, and you can follow him on Twitter at @IAmBlankenship. He fondly remembers the rock music of The Presidents of the United States of America.