Songs Of Freedom

Perhaps the candidates running in the 2004 election could use some help selecting their campaign music

Clearly a lot of time and effort goes into selecting the music for Democratic and Republican campaign events. The two camps must have teams of people sitting around long boardroom tables, eating Chinese food and wearing out boom boxes 'til the wee hours, because nothing is left to chance with these things.

But if that's true, then how the hell did the Black Eyed Peas make it onto the DNC stage last Wednesday?

Sure, the ticket's ubiquitous hit, "Let's Get It Started," is exuberant, but the original, unsanitized album version of the song is called "Let's Get Retarded." Sample lyrics: "We got five minutes for us to disconnect / From all intellect." Is that what you call staying on message?

It seems obvious to me that whoever's in charge of such things could use a few tips, so I've compiled this list of suggested campaign songs that I'd like to hear blasting as the candidates and their various high-profile supporters continue the race to November 2.

Politician: John Kerry

Current songs: U2, "Beautiful Day"; Bruce Springsteen, "No Surrender" and "Thunder Road"; Chuck Berry, "Johnny B. Goode"

Pros/cons: Yeah, these songs are fun, but they play right into the criticisms leveled against the Dems these days -- little bark and even less bite. If Kerry really wants to communicate to voters that he can lead and protect this country, he needs to get tough.

Suggested replacement:N.W.A., "Gangsta Gangsta"

Sample lyrics: "Here's a little somethin' 'bout a nigga like me / Never shoulda been let out the penitentiary / [John Kerry] would like ta say / That I'm a crazy muthafucka from around the way...This is a gang, and I'm in it / My man [John Edwards]'ll fuck you up in a minute / With a right left, right left, you're toothless / And then you say, 'Goddamn they ruthless!' "

Alternate: Kris Kristofferson, "Don't Let the Bastards (Get You Down)"

Sample lyrics: "And I've just got to wonder what my daddy would've done / If he'd seen the way they turned his dream around / I've got to go by what he told me, try to tell the truth / And stand your ground / Don't let the bastards get you down."

Politician: John Edwards

Current song: John Mellencamp, "Small Town"

Pros/cons: While this tune may complement the hayseed image Edwards is trying for, it's also pretty depressing -- "I was born in a small town...Prob'ly die in a small town." Come on. If Edwards wants to work the podunk thing and look strong doing it, he should try outlaw country.

Suggested replacement:Waylon Jennings, "I'm a Ramblin' Man"

Sample lyrics: "You'd better move away / You're standin' too close to the flame / Once I mess with your mind / Your little heart won't beat the same."

Alternate:Duh, dirty Southern rap à la Archie Eversole's "We Ready"

Sample lyrics: "We ready / We ready / We ready / For y'all...I'm gonna show you why they call us dirty / There is no mercy for play haters 'cause you ain't worthy / Heard of me yet? Hell no / But I bet you done heard of me now."

Politician:Bill Clinton

Current song: Fleetwood Mac, "Don't Stop"

Pros/cons: Sure, it's a baby boomer anthem and all, but watching Clinton suavely and sharply address the convention last week reminded us that there's no better leader than a womanizing, self-effacing pimp daddy who, despite his confessed affluence, can still give every race, color, and creed a hard-on.

Suggested replacement:Eminem, "Without Me"

Sample lyrics: "They tried to shut me down on MTV / But it feels so empty without me / So come on and dip, bum on your lips / Fuck that, cum on your lips and some on your tits / And get ready / 'Cuz this shit's about to get heavy."

Alternate: Usher, "Confessions, Part 2"

Sample lyrics: "These are my confessions / Just when I thought / I said all I can say / My chick on the side / Said she got one on the way."

Politician: George W. Bush

Current song: Lee Greenwood, "God Bless the U.S.A."

Pros/cons: This song is a Bush family heirloom, like a lucky pair of poop-stained BVDs passed down through the generations. Daddy Bush used it for his campaign in 1992, Lil' Bush used it in 2000, and here he is, using it again. But if George really wants to win over the undecided swing voters, he needs to think about leveling with us, being honest and telling the truth about what he's really been up to these past four years.

Suggested replacement: Ween, "Bananas and Blow"

Sample lyrics: "Bananas and blow, bananas and blow / Stuck in my cabana, living on bananas and blow."

Alternate: R.E.M., "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Sample lyrics: "Save yourself, serve yourself / World serves its own needs / Listen to your heart bleed / Dummy with the rapture and the reverent in the right -- right / You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched."

Politician: Dick Cheney

Current song: As Cheney has no soul, he cannot hear music. Lately he's been taking the stage to the sound your TV makes during a test of the Emergency Alert System.

Pros/cons: The flat buzz of the EAS signal is representative of Cheney's public profile -- plain yet foreboding, simple yet terrifying. But he can do better.

Suggested replacement: John Williams's "The Imperial March," from Star Wars

Sample lyrics: "Dahhn, dahhn, dahhn, dahn-da-da, dahn-da-da / Dahhn, dahhn, dahhn, dahn-da-da, dahn-da-da."

Alternate: R.E.M., "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Sample lyrics: "A tournament, tournament, a tournament of lies."

Politician:Arnold Schwarzenegger

Current songs: U2, "Beautiful Day"; Twisted Sister, "We're Not Gonna Take It"

Pros/cons: For better or worse, Arnold's not quite as demonic as his above-mentioned Republican peers -- he can smile, crack jokes and even make fun of himself. But since we all know that Arnold is the devil incarnate, a true Manchurian Candidateplotting his slow ascent to the highest office in the land where he will engineer our ultimate enslavement by his secretive partners, the International Federation of BodyBuilders (hel-lo -- aliens!), it's my thinking that he should start dropping a few subtle, subversive hints.

Suggested replacement: Cannibal Corpse, "I Will Kill You"

Sample lyrics: "Bleed for my pain / Revenge on treacherous snakes / They will pay / Slicing the flesh / Sculptured wounds my catharsis."

Alternate: R.E.M., "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Sample lyrics: "It's the end of the world as we know it / It's the end of the world as we know it / It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."

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