Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Election 2008 soundtrack

Campaign songs do not seem to be as popular for the 2008 Canadian election as they once were. Instead of custom-made ditties, plain old pop and rock songs with vaguely relevant lyrics are being blasted as the candidates march up to the podium. Not unlike what they've been doing in the U. S. since 1923, but not very much fun.

Nevertheless, various parties (not just the partisan vote-for-us kind) have remembered the power of music to rouse, incite, motivate, and other such synonyms. Despite the cuts to arts funding, the musicians have made sure that the 2008 election will not pass with mere boring talking!

In the interest of keeping you up-to-date and entertained, I present to you: The Top Five Songs of the 2008 Canadian Election.

Wayne & Shuster's Musical Parliament sketch would be great here by way of introduction, but every copy that ever existed seems to have mysteriously disappeared off the internet -- and by "mysterious" I mean "probably due to copyright violations". So you'll just have to imagine it.
Speaker of the House comes in, wearing sequined robe
Speaker: Hello! Hello!
Liberals in matching jackets: How-dee-do!
Speaker (in epic anglo accent): Bonjour et comment allez-vous!
Tories in matching jackets: Bonjour et comment allez vous!
Now start singing that damned doo-doo-doo part that always gets stuck in your head, accompanied by the obligatory desk banging to keep time.

#5: Le Bloc répond présent ! - Bloc Québécois
I know I was just complaining about the lack of campaign songs, but the Bloc actually stepped up and got themselves a real chanson de campagne. This one is a little more militant than their cheery Band-Aid stylin' 2004 campaign song. Seriously, if I was new to Quebec and didn't know anything about the Bloc when I first heard this song, I would have rushed out to vote Bloc, before wrapping my arms around the people beside me and bursting into song Woodstock-style. 2008's effort makes me feel like I should punch someone. Or at least, I should if I'm a québécois(e) de souche.

Listen/download here.

Best lyric: Si parfois, j’ai l’air en colère
C’est pas juste mon caractère
C’est parce que je suis fier
(If sometimes I seem angry, it's not just my personality, it's because I'm proud)

Hey, whose pride doesn't sometimes result in rage, right?
The Good: It's very catchy and makes a great drinking song.
The Bad: Depending on who you are drinking with, you may have some explaining to do.

#4: Bounce - Baba Brinkman
This partisan song, by "the Geoffrey Chaucer of hip-hop" has been called the unofficial Liberal campaign song. It's kind of obvious why it isn't official. But it is awfully clever -- if Dion had as many supporters as separatism, Baba Brinkman could be the Loco Locass of the federal Liberal party!

Listen here.

Best lyric: Canadians know they can't trust a man
With a mustache that looks like a muskrat
In the shape of a dustpan

What does Layton's mustache look like to you?

The Good: It's funny because it's true!
The Bad: So partisan it should contain an "authorized by the Liberal Party of Canada" tag ... but then again, a lot of non-authorized material is just as partisan.

#3: You Have A Choice - K-OS, Ed from Barenaked Ladies, Sarah Harmer, Hawksley Workman, Jason Collett from Broken Social Scene (and many more!)
This song is non-partisan in a sort of inculsive, everyone-but-Harper kind of way. Justin Trudeau probably had multiple orgasms while listening to this song; it's a rousing (incendiary, motivational) exhortation to take action, which in this case is synonymous with Vote Not Conservative, aimed squarely at the under-26 crowd. The conglomeration of popular artists responsible for this music and it's "We can make a difference!" message gives it a Band-Aid feel, except we haven't heard it enough to make us hate its guts.

Listen here / download here.

Best lyric: We can change things for the better
Not just dressing it up with a sweater

If you were unsure whether or not this song likes Harper, things should be clear by now.
The Good: Has the power to make apathetic young voters feel like voting, would sound good on your iPod.
The Bad: The clichées will eventually get to you.

#2: Time For Some Campaignin' - JibJab e-cards
Yeah, so this is an e-card. It's got the best original soundtrack an e-card ever dreamed of! A tip of the hat to the American election - because if you are following Canadian politics, chances are you are following American politics at least nominally, and of course everything that gets elected in the U.S.A. affects Canada. Make sure you watch the video, because half the jokes are visual. And they're all pretty funny, from Hillary smacking Bill with a frying pan to Obama riding a magical unicorn to the "Increase your Manhood" campaign promise. This would also make an excellent drinking song, and I am tragically sorry I didn't know it a few weeks ago - it would have made an epic sing-along in the pub after the kickoff party, with a few lyrical tweaks.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Best lyrics: We spend billions of dollars to make our point clear

To get you to step up and cast your vote here

Then we spin you around and poke you in the rear

This song sounds like an optimistic pro-voting ballad, but it keeps a healthy sense of perspective -- whoever gets elected is gonna screw you somehow anyway.
The Good: It's a shining tribute to the power and beauty of indirect democracy.
The Bad: It exposes how deeply flawed indirect democracy really is.

#1: I've Got A Crush on Harper - Mashline Girl

What are Canadians really good at? If we ask History, one excellent answer would be "copying stuff that Britian and America does and bastardizing it to make it 'Canadian'". You guys all remember the Obama Girl, right? Well, this has been sanctioned by Barelypolitical.com as the "official" Canadian version. As far as copying stuff goes, it's pretty faithful. Although we figured Obama Girl was more or less serious about her crush; Mashline Girl is young and female and we are not sure what would attract her to Harper so much. She either loves irony, or being told what to do by her man. At least there's someone else out there who agrees with me - Canadian politics needs more sex if the voter turnout rate among youth is ever going to improve!

Watch here / download here.

Best lyric: When you're back in office with a new mandate
I won't leave you alone, 'cause I got a crush on Harper

Nothing is sexier than a stalker you've never met.
The Good: Finally, someone is sticking up for Harper.
The Bad: ... possibly ironically.

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