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Monday, October 10, 2011

An abandonment of musical taste

Just to be clear in writing this blog, I am not claiming any great wisdom with regards to my own musical taste, which is and always will be eccentric and diverse. As I proved in conversation at the weekend I also have a complete ignorance of classical music. being unable to distinguish between Handel and Bach.

Having said that, this morning's Independent does have a valid point: just who does choose the incidental music at party conferences and what qualifications do they have to impose their taste upon the rest of us?

The paper points to such choices as "Bohemian Like You" by The Dandy Warhols for Theresa May, complete with the hard-hitting lines "I really love your hairdo, yeah/I'm glad you like mine too". Then there was Ed Miliband the previous week, waving at us to the strains of Florence and The Machine's once omnipresent cover "You've Got the Love":

Trust him to plump for an artist people are so tired of that news of her second album has been greeted with a universal shrug. The problem is that all MPs, bar the odd Tory backwoodsman, hate to appear fuddy-duddy – remember Gordon Brown awkwardly namechecking Arctic Monkeys to show he had his figure on the pulse of the indie scene, if not the economy. Moreover, career politicos are keen to reach out to the supposedly hard-to-engage youth vote.

Get 'em while they're young, runs the old adage, which apparently works for banks that each year hurl free travel insurance and rail cards at new students opening accounts to load up with debt. Political parties lack access to such freebies, so resort to an enticing soundtrack. David Cameron, then, bangs on about The Jam and The Smiths. Alongside them now is the New Radicals' "You Get What You Give", the tune to which he greeted Samantha at the end of his closing speech.

It is a title that alludes to the fair-deal content of Dave's oration, except the lyrics to this bland late Nineties anthem do not quite chime with his values: "The bad rich/God's flying in for your trial". On Twitter, fans complained about the short-lived group's legacy being tarnished while neutrals (the band don't really have haters) chortled at such an insipid choice. The problem for right-wingers is that most acts would rather not be associated with them and complain when their music is used in this way. In the US, this has been a perennial issue, from Tom Petty demanding George W Bush stop using "Won't Back Down" on the campaign trail to Bon Jovi complaining about Sarah Palin's use of "Who Say's You Can't Go Home".

If bands in the USA can ask politicians to cease using their music then why can't they do so here as well?
If bands in the USA can ask politicians to cease using their music
the request can fall on deaf ears. Springsteen (a registered Democrat) asked Reagan not to use "Born in the USA" as a campaign theme, but without success.
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