Priest Picks #26: 24-Hour Party People & the Power of the Polls

Welcome to week #26 of Priest Picks. I spent a disproportionate amount of time watching election results this week and not pursuing my usual default interests, which accounts for the lack of new music on the docket. I do eventually view every situation through the lens of songs and lyrics--it's how I process life, for better or worse. With that in mind, I have listed a handful of songs that popped into my head this week that seem eerily appropriate considering our current circumstances.

Operational note: For the rest of November, I'm going to be catching up on some old business while we start the arduous and wonderful process of preparing our year-end 2020 lists. A formal release schedule for our 2020: Year in Review will be posted later this week. Until then, here are some songs that have been coursing through my mind during this highly stressful week…

1 RADIOHEAD / “Electioneering”

I will stop at nothing

Say the right things

When electioneering

I trust I can rely on your vote

When I go forwards, you go backwards

And somewhere we will meet

This year was hard to watch for everybody and for many different reasons. From a political standpoint, Radiohead anticipated the heart of the problem way back in 1997. But even their dystopian masterpiece OK Computer seemed to underestimate how far backwards we could go.

2 THE SILOS / “Election Day”

We can’t lose, it’s election day

We can choose, it’s election day

The sun is gonna rise

The stars are gonna fly

Written in 2011 during the Obama administration and released on the band's prophetic Florizona album, the Silos’ Walter Salas-Humara summed up the glory of American democracy in a few carefully selected words. On another note, I like the idea of merging Florida and Arizona into one Hunger Games-styled "survival of the fittest" retirement cage match.

3 THE REPLACEMENTS / “Election Day"

I meant to close the polls

In the chill night, bitter cold

Someone close the polls

On a chill night, in the cold

So all the poll closing controversies were caused because Paul Westerberg forgot to close the polls? Could the explanation be that easy? Can he account for his whereabouts on the night of November 3rd? Was he in Pennsylvania perhaps?

4 JOHNNY “GUITAR” WATSON / “I Don’t Want to Be President”

Well, now, I’m not a big politician

Hell, I don’t wanna be!

Why, I wouldn’t be the president

If the whole world voted for me

On both sides of the aisle, the candidates we get are the candidates we deserve. We need to make the presidency, and the process of electing one, more attractive to potential candidates in order to lure in the cream of the crop. People with long-term vision, innovative ideas, vast intelligence, global understanding, respectful diplomacy, natural leadership abilities, and, yes, hard-driving ambition, too, should be applying for the job. Is there nobody else out there?

5 JOAN BAEZ / “The President Sang Amazing Grace”

But no words could say what must be said

For all the living and the dead

So on that day and in that place

The President sang ‘Amazing Grace’

How many inspiring, tear-jerking folk songs will come out of the last four years? I anxiously await the proceeds.

6 LESLEY GORE / “It’s My Party”

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

Cry if I want to, cry if I want to

You would cry too if it happened to you

When you think the whole world revolves around you, you start to sound like a teenage girl at her birthday party.

7 PATTI SMITH / “People Have the Power”

The people have the power

To redeem the work of fools

Upon the meek the graces shower

It’s decreed the people rule

The people have the power

The people have the power

The people have the power

The people have the power

Patti has been playing this at every gig since she first released it on the fittingly titled Dream of Life back in 1988, and for good reason. We’ve needed the reminder.

8 THIS IS THE KIT / “This Is What You Did”

This is what you get

This is what you did

This is what they want

Why are you still here?

Kate Stables, leader of the English folk act (okay, “alt-folk” if we must) This Is The Kit, wrote this song well in advance of the election, and I’ve taken the lyrics completely out of context, but it does seem to distill the essence of the last week into a bold, aromatic fragrance that’s pleasing to the senses.

9 HAMILTON SOUNDTRACK / “The Election of 1800”

Burr: Congratulations on a race well-run

I did give you a fight

I look forward to our partnership

Jefferson: Our partnership?

Burr: As your Vice-President

Jefferson: Ha ha ha ha, yeah, right

You hear this guy?

Man openly campaigns against me, talkin’ bout

“I look forward to our partnership”

Burr: It is crazy that the guy who comes in second

gets to be the Vice President

Sitcom idea: America decides to go back to the “second place ‘winner’ gets to be the new Vice President for the next four years concept that we used until 1804. On second thought, maybe it would have to be a drama. At least a dramedy. A murder mystery also makes sense. Or perhaps the next installment in the American Horror Story franchise. The possibilities are endless, really.

THE 10 SPOT

CHINGA TU PELO BEER / 5 Rabbit Brewing Company, Bedford Park, IL

This cerveza, crafted by the Latin American 5 Rabbit Brewing Company in Illinois, was first brewed in 2015 and has become a regular bestseller. We love the can design, the name, the message, and, oh, the taste.

The origin story direct from their website:

In June of 2015, then presidential candidate Donald Trump made statements calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists.

At the time, we at 5 Rabbit Cervecería, a Latin-inspired and Latin-owned craft brewery, had been producing a house beer exclusively for the Trump Tower in Chicago, to serve as their house Blonde Ale. Although we are not normally in the business of making beer for others, it seemed like a good business opportunity for such a small craft brewery like us.

The following morning we informed our business contact at Trump Tower that we could no longer do business with them. Days later, Univision, NBC, and other corporations that were in disagreement with the positions of candidate Trump, also severed ties with him due to his completely out of line remarks.

So there we were, with dozens of kegs of beer we had absolutely no use for, a precarious position for a small craft brewery. Dumping it would mean taking a massive financial hit, but we were prepared to do so.

Then we had an idea.

What if we called bar and restaurant owners in the area, people with whom we had personal, friendly relationships, and see if they might want to buy a keg or two? That way we wouldn't have to dump all of it away.

The response was unfathomable. All of the kegs we had available were sold within the hour.

By the end of the day the "Trump Golden Ale" had a new name. Chinga Tu Pelo (Fuck Your Hair) became a phenomenon, not because of the speed at which it was sold, but because of its message of solidarity in favor of inclusion, acceptance and respect.

That’s all for this week. Good job voting all, on both sides. The turnout was an all-time record, but we’ve still got a long way to go. Until next week, get back to listening to music and supporting our artistic communities. They need you more than ever.

Cheers,

The Priest