Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Randy Newman - Sail Away (1972)

"Political Science" should be the national anthem"

Randy Newman has written many brilliant songs, but SAIL AWAY may well be his finest album. The 2-minute "Political Science" is certainly one of his greatest achievements, and the song is just as timely now as it was in 1973. What makes the lyric so great is that it distills exactly what so many Americans think about the world. It could be your friendly next-door neighbor, who seems like a perfectly nice person until you stumble into a political discussion, and then you realize that he is an immoral monster. It seems to me that "Political Science" should be the national anthem -- it's what large numbers of Americans really think, and if they disagree then they should be forced to change the attitude as well as the policies before they change the song.

I would like to include the entire lyric, but here is a sample:

"We give them money, but are they grateful, no they're spiteful and they're hateful. They don't respect us, so let's surprise 'em, let's drop The Big One and pulverize 'em."

"Boom goes London, and boom Pay-ree, more room for you and more room for me. Every city the whole world round will just be another American town, oh how peaceful it will be, we'll set everybody free ... They all hate us anyhow, so let's drop The Big One now."

Is Randy Newman being too sarcastic, too harsh? Just look at the anti-French movement among the republicanus neanderthalis recently -- "nuke France and gimme some Freedom Fries with my burger" -- and it seems clear that if anything he is too kind.

Thank goodness for Randy Newman in times like these. Along with Mose Allison, Stan Ridgway (see my 7/29/04 review of his brilliant latest, SNAKEBITE), and a few other mavericks, he understands America's dark side well enough to deflate its pretensions and hypocrisy with humor, from the inside. By R. Hutchinson

1. Sail Away (2:52)
2. Lonely At The Top (2:35)
3. He Gives Us All His Love (1:56)
4. Last Night I Had A Dream (3:02)
5. Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear (2:05)
6. Old Man (2:46)
7. Political Science (2:01)
8. Burn On (2:34)
9. Memo To My Son (1:55)
10. Dayton, Ohio - 1903 (1:51)
11. You Can Leave Your Hat On (3:18)
12. God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind) (3:36)


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