August 23rd, 2007


like ronald reagan falling asleep forevermore / dreaming of horses and dreaming of nuclear war

Finally, a review of Electric Six's "Jimmy Carter" by someone who gets it:

At first, this song seemed like a silly joke, but the longer I live with it, the more it seems deadly serious. After the initial novelty of a grunge ballad filled with strange references to the Backstreet Boys, gory celebrity deaths, electric underwear, and former American presidents wears off, the emotional resonance kicks in. The refrain "this is who you are" carries the most dramatic weight; implying the tragic, undeniable notion that we are all shaped by our absurd culture of celebrities, politicians, inescapable surveillance, consumer novelties, and the constant vague threat of random violence and atomic annihilation. It's essentially a song about powerlessness, and the realization that you owe so much of who you think you are to a collection of cultural factors that seem so stupid, random, and meaningless when considered in abstract terms. But this is who we are, and we can be made to feel weepy when the singer turns the catchphrase "Backstreet's back, alright" into a mournful lament by placing it in the context of sentimental nostalgia because even if you never cared about the Backstreet Boys, it's at least a reference point we can all understand. Sometimes that's all you need to feel less alone.

Or, er, not so finally. I actually found that blog post a year ago and forgot to mention it. :/

Anyone who thinks the song is mere absurdist comedy has not listened to it enough. This song is the anthem of our generation; forty years from now, I'll bet it'll be playing in senior citizens' homes everywhere.

Like Harry Truman dropping bombs out of the air
Like any self-respecting multi-billionaire
This is who you are
Five dancing teenage boys who sing their way into our hearts
Backstreet's back, all right
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