Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dress Blues

Post 9/11, around the time of the start of the second Gulf War (which I was not against – wrongly, I’m not too proud to admit) a lot of people noted how relatively light and fleeting the protests were. They did seem to lose steam quickly, didn't they? A lot of people also noted how few, far between and weak the artistic reactions were - music, movies, books. Paul McCartney would have to reunite the Beatles to live down “Freedom.”

So what's different now? The death toll, for one. The weight of those numbers has begun to take effect, and the quality and power of artistic responses (in books, music and movies) seems to have gone up significantly. One of my favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers, released a great song this year called "Aftermath U.S.A.," a subtle, sly track whose central metaphor is that life in America these days is like a horrible morning after, with one terrible, shocking revelation of the previous night’s behavior after another. The song's hilarious. But one of the other guys in that band just wrote this new song called "Dress Blues," inspired by the death of a classmate in Iraq, and it's absolutely wrenching. Really heart breaking.

"Dress Blues"


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