On a somber note: songs about the crisis and other sad affairs

Thanks to Ramón Lobo’s Aguas Internacionales blog in el País, I’m now hip to to the latest viral sensation: crisis music. It has nothing to do with the  summer hit parade we’re used to. Apparently the zeitgeist calls for a change from the Beach Boys (no less than four songs on Billboard’s all-time list of summer hits), Mungo Jerry (if her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal; if her daddy’s poor then just do what you feel . . .), The Lovin’ Spoonful (you’ve gotta’ admit the jack hammer intro is a classic), or whatever Abba released just in time for the summer holidays. The new music is angry, in-your-face, and expresses a wide variety of opinions as to why we aren’t humming “Surfin’ Safari” very often these days. Being a wordsmith, the fact that the lyrics to these songs—clearly pronounced and emphatically delivered—drive the music, immediately grabbed my interest. Not all of it is poetry, but it does offer proof that people are thinking.

First on Lobo’s list is the “Euro Crisis Song,” a very interesting joint project undertaken by the Guardian newspaper and New York University’s Studio 20. Studio 20 is a graduate program offered by the NYU School of Journalism. In their own words, “The program seeks to draw together a diversely talented team of students who can produce excellent work that pushes the field forward and realizes some of the possibilities inherent in a multi-media, interactive and constantly evolving platform for journalism, namely the World Wide Web.” With the “Euro Crisis Song” they’ve definitely pushed the envelope of journalism. Among other videos featured in Lobo’s August 3 post, a wistful song about Athens in flames, a home video titled “Todo va a la Mierda”, and “I Wanna Know Where the Money Goes,” by Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Bob Chapman, and Gerard Celente aptly capture the new spirit of the times. Aguas Internacionales  is definitely worth a look (and a listen).

Another song on this summer’s international hit parade is Versusplus’s remake of “Dominique“, the song made popular by the “Singing Nun” in the 1960s, lampooning (who else?) Dominique Strauss Kahn. Not to be outdone, an anonymous punster made a video out of press footage backed by a Quincy Jones classic to comment on the debt-ceiling crisis that can be viewed on the Huffington Post.

It may be better to laugh than to cry, but hear’s hoping that we’ll soon be singing a different tune.