Speaking of the National Review list of Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs of All Time (or the last fifty years, if you prefer), John J. Miller has listed, though alas without numbers we could fight about, fifty more conservative rock songs.
What was surprising about the original article wasn’t the list itself, but that people were surprised. Miller clearly stated the songs were chosen based on what listeners felt defined conservative values for them; he didn’t say that driving German cars into American residential swimming pools makes you a conservative rock group - though obviously it does.
This time Mr Miller does what he tried to avoid last time, by including five songs by Rush and The Kinks combined. I suspect it’s just laziness following the impact of the initial list that has the net not being cast so wide this time.
From the Irish perspective we again have a song by U2, The Playboy Mansion from the much mocked Pop album. Of course because we’re Irish we know that anything early when the boys were simultaneously attending prayer meetings and being rock stars would qualify.
And so would anything later when they had established they weren’t your average rock stars interested in getting their rocks off. Beyond U2 we’re pushing it. But hey, Irish KC likes to push it, so let’s claim a couple more.
Elvis Costello, born as Declan Patrick MacManus, and sometime champion of The Pogues to the extent that he married their bass player for a while, Cait Ni Riordain (surely that’s conservative?), is on the list with The Other Side of Summer.
Oh and This Night Has Opened My Eyes by that Irish band, The Smiths.
And really we shouldn’t, because the sweeping epic rock ballad called Red Army Blues by The Waterboys predates their conversion to Irishness, and is back from the days when everything they did was sweeping and epic. But with their recent second Irish coming, I think we can now claim everything Mike Scott ever did as being Irish.
And this second Irish coming also reinstates The Waterboys as the ultimate Irish Festival band in existence - I mean, for god’s sake they have an unending stream of Dubliners on Grafton Street wishing they were Fishermen. So I imagine having the masses of middle America wishing they too were out on trawlers should be no problem. Reason enough for a festival, I’d say.
Truth be told, from an Irish perspective we could make these lists until the cows come home, because we have a Traditional music scene, and for good measure we fuse it into Rock, Pop, and although it’s criminal, Country.
I mean Step it out Mary, my fine daughter, Show your legs to the country man embodies a world of conservative values you could write a thesis on. Or a Testament.