HATE — The Eternal Muse
Art is mighty, art is powerful. Many arguments have been called over the years about what most powers inspiration for art. The Greeks found their inspiration in their Muses. The Romantics sprang forth from nature. As medicines developed in the latter twentieth century, drugs gave birth to entire movements. However there is no older or more effective source of inspiration than one that bubbles up from within us and that is HATE. It is entirely ours and entirely within us and therefore gives us power reserved for the most supreme: to create.
What more is satire than the freedom to hate? Disgust with the behavior of others and the artistic display of such loathing. When Machiavelli wrote The Prince, he would have laughed at his book’s consideration as one of the leading manuals on ruling, influence, and power. If you like to get your history from cable TV miniseries like I do, you would know that Cesare Borgia, the model for Machiavelli’s masterpiece is a dick, and The Prince is essentially a how-to manual for douchebags. Machiavelli wrote the book as a tribute to his superiors (the Medeci), but cloaked in satire, he damned them for being jerk-offs.
Living in the modern age, we have no shortage of hate art, and one medium in which it is most predominant is music. So in an attempt to tie this argument together and put a pretty little bow on it, I give to you, ladies and gentlemen:
THE TOP TEN LIST OF HATE MUSIC.
10. “Helping Hands” by Black Eyed Vermillion With a voice like this and anger-fueled lyrics, this Austin band should be ranked higher. Or lower, depending what team you’re on.
9. “Dial-A-Cliche / Margaret on the Guillotine” by Morrissey No one seemed to inspire more through hate in the mid to late eighties than Margaret Thatcher. From the Irish to the Argentines to the bloody feminists, the Iron Lady collected her fair share of enemies. Unfortunately for her, many of them could sing.
8. “Head Like a Hole” by Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine was the first CD I ever bought myself and it was and still is music mastery, with compelling angst-driven lyrics and hypnotic driving beats. However, I can’t bring myself to buy another NIN CD. Maybe it’s my age. But to Trent Reznor’s credit, his work on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack helped shape my thoughts and beliefs on music.
7. “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” by Nirvana Why did Kurt Cobain choose a troubled actress from the 40s as the subject of his vitriol-laced song on In Utero? Was it because they both were native children of Seattle? Was it because of his ability to relate with her substance abuse? Or his inability to cope with success? Either way, he likens to the personality of Frances Farmer, probably more from his hatred of his community (which, more appropriately is Aberdeen, Washington), and this type of angst has also fueled the masses. From the works of Mark Twain to every high school kid who’s written shitty poetry. Hatred of one’s community is no joke, man.
6. “You Rascal You” by Louis Armstrong / Milton Brown / Hanni El Khatib I will make a separate post just on this song. It seems to have been originally written to score a short animation film starring Betty Boop and sung by Louis Armstrong. However, country swing musicians took it and adapted it as a standard, as evidenced by Milton Brown. The sentiments carried over and musicians such as Hanni El Khatib and the Black Keys still perform it, nearly 80 years after it was written.
5. “Fire On Babylon” by Sinead O’Connor The Irish have been singing from hate since long before Easter 1916, and nobody does it better than Sinead. Her brand of folk capitalized on her sudden fame to bring injustices by the British to light, but as her eccentricities colored her career, many people quit listening. However, her defacing of the Pope’s picture on Saturday Night Live is still rock hard.
4. “Oxford Town” by Bob Dylan In the tradition of the murder ballad or the disaster ballad in American folk history, Dylan tells the tale all too common in the America of the Sixties: racial disharmony. There are so many songs to detail the hate that exists between cultures, and I’m sure there will be no shortage of them in the days to come.
3. “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins Ah, the days before the Internet… back when a rumor circulated through people and became fact with very little to corroborate it. Like blowing into Nintendo cartridges to get them to work, or having a friend of a friend who worked in a hospital and saw firsthand what may or may not have been pulled out of Richard Gere’s ass. Add to that list the guy who let Phil Collins’ brother drown and, all those years later, gets a ticket to a sold out Genesis show and the lights find him in the audience while Phil Collins sings this song to him… Nope. Sorry ladies and ginnulmins: it’s about a divorce. Which still counts as a hate song.
2. “How Do You Sleep” by John Lennon Oh snap! John Lennon started the movement of bashing people in song. EVERY SINGLE LINE pops Paul McCartney in the mouth. And why shouldn’t it? That capitalist bastard sold out the band and their agreement to dissolve in a joint press conference on April 11, 1970 by announcing his own departure one day earlier… and on the same day his first solo album released. Way to sell out your mates, Paul. Maybe the Strange Boys say it best, but I don’t want to go there. That’s way too hateful.
1. “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan Lots of people got mad at Dylan for abandoning folk for the electric guitar. They wrote dirty things about him and protested and threw things… those peaceful folk musicians. Even his women (Suze Ritolo, Edie Sedgewick) were pissing him off, cavorting about with sycophantic d-bags like Andy Warhol and other 15-minuters. So to all the music critics and Greenwich Village hangers-on and snotty hipster folk musicians: you got a lot of nerve…
I know I missed a few, so please feel free to drop a line and fill me in. Just keep your tone civil because Jesus is watching… and following my blog (at reverenderyk.blogspot.com)