Debunking the "50 greatest conservative songs", part 2

No theme to these, just a few more tunes to knock down.

5. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys.

NRO take: Pro-abstinence and pro-marriage: “Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true / Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do / We could be married / And then we’d be happy.”

DL take: You have to stretch pretty far to call this one pro-abstinence. Even pro-marriage is a tough sell here. From the first two lines ("Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn't have to wait so long"), they're obviously veeeeery young - at the oldest we'd say 16. So this is being written from the puppy love perspective. And let's be honest: who wasn't madly in love with their special someone when they were 16, sending love letters to each other, talking about how they were never going to break up, and writing things like "Rush x Ann" with little hearts all around them. Truthfully, two weeks after this song was written, the boy probably dumped the girl, and she immediately made out with half the high school basketball team.

And nowhere in the lyrics is there any mention of them waiting to have sex. Let's be honest, it was the late 60's; it was the free love era, they were doin' it. Miller is probably inferring the abstinence in the passage where they talk about being able to spend their whole day together ("Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up, in the morning when the day is new, and after having spent the day together, hold each other close the whole night through"). Well obviously you can't sleep in the same bed when you're 16, your parents would kill you! Just for the record, in case Mr. Miller isn't familiar with this: you don't have to sleep in the same bed, or even be in a bed, to have sex. Just so you know.

So if you want to pin the conservative value hopes on a song written from the perspective of a smitten teenager, well go ahead, but I think that says quite a bit about your side of the argument.

13. “My City Was Gone,” by The Pretenders.

NRO take: Virtually every conservative knows the bass line, which supplies the theme music for Limbaugh’s radio show. But the lyrics also display a Jane Jacobs sensibility against central planning and a conservative’s dissatisfaction with rapid change: “I went back to Ohio / But my pretty countryside / Had been paved down the middle / By a government that had no pride.”

DL take: Yes, and the government that paved the highway most likely took that land through eminent domain. Interesting that Miller left out the rest of the verse ("The farms of Ohio, had been replaced by shopping malls, and muzak filled the air"), which in this area smacks of the republican desire to move people out of their homes so a new office or shopping development can be built, most notably in Norwood. Or you could compare it to the neighborhoods of Mason, West Chester, and Little Miami, among others, that have had their farmland turned into upscale communities and big box stores and restaurants. And what do these neighborhoods usually have in common once these developments are established? Yep, they vote republican. So actually this is a conservative song, but instead of extolling positive conservative values, it shows them as the cause of the problem itself.

45. “Taxman, Mr. Thief,” by Cheap Trick.

NRO take: An anti-tax protest song: “You work hard, you went hungry / Now the taxman is out to get you. . . . He hates you, he loves money.”

DL take: Clearly the 'you' in this song is a working class person, probably lower-middle class. So this person is probably complaining about payroll taxes, which disproportionately hit the less affluent. And these taxes are also the ones that conservatives love to ignore when they're trying to prove how well the lower 80-90% have it. And if conservatives really cared about the less affluent they'd do something about it. But they don't. So no dice there bubba.

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