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Tag: songs: current events and culture

Quarantine

Quarantine
by Rob Wynne
TTTO: “Closing Time” by Semisonic

[Verse 1]
Quarantine
Close up all the doors and don’t go out onto the street
Quarantine
Turn all of the lights out and stay under your blanket and sheet
Quarantine
Sitting on the sofa watching TV and drinking beer
Quarantine
You don’t have to stay home but you can’t come here

[Chorus]
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
Please stay home…

[Verse 2]
Quarantine
Time for you to stay there in the places you already are
Quarantine
There’s nowhere to go, ’cause they closed every café and bar
So just take off your jackets, put them in the closet
I hope at least you have a friend
Quarantine
Please stay safe inside until the outside is safe once again.

[Chorus]
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
Please stay home…

[Bridge]
Quarantine
Time for you to stay there in the places you already are

[Chorus]
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
Please stay home…
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
I wish everyone would stay at home
Please stay home…

[Outro]
Quarantine
Please stay safe inside until the outside is safe once again.

I have to thank Trace Hagemann for being my muse and inspiring this! He posted a link to Semisonic’s “Closing Time” and said it was his quarantine music for the evening, and this formed in my brain. I guess I’ve now written my pandemic song.

Meet The Hipsters

Meet The Hipsters
by Rob Wynne
TTTO: “Theme From The Flintstones” by Hoyt Curtin, Joseph Barbera and William Hanna

Hipsters, meet the Hipsters
They’re a modern vintage family
From the streets of Brooklyn
They go on a thrift store shopping spree

Hear their…records (vinyl is preferred)
Bands of whom you’ll never once have heard

When you’re with the Hipsters
You’ll have a before it was cool time
A real old school time
You’ll have a new old time!

For the record, I have nothing against hipsters. But someone posted this photo, and this just…came out.

Image result for sundress "we're the hipsters"

The Shining Wit

The Shining Wit
by Rob Wynne
TTTO: “Act Naturally” by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison

I’m gonna get myself a girlfriend
I’m gonna go make all these women see
That I’m a man who knows how to explain things
And all I gotta say is “Well, actually…”

I promise you that I know all about it
I’m quite an expert, you can surely tell
Don’t worry your pretty head about it
‘Cause I can make it simple as well

I know you’ll nod and see that I am right, here.
And jump into my arms and softly squee
You’ll fall for me the moment that I step up
To interrupt you, saying, “Well, actually…”

Yet somehow I wind sad and lonely
It makes me so mad; I just cannot see
I know that I did nothing to deserve this
The only thing I said was “Well, actually…”

I promise you that I know all about it
I’m quite an expert, you can surely tell
Don’t worry your pretty head about it
‘Cause I can make it simple as well

I guess that she was just another hater
But I will get a girl eventually
She will not be able to resist me
When I interrupt her saying “Well, actually…”

Many thanks to Twitter user David Ballard (@dvdbllrd) for the inspiration for this.

Hope and Mercy

Hope and Mercy
Words and Music by Robert Wynne
© 2001

September 11, 2001

The world around me has gone mad
I cannot find the words
To make sense out of anything at all

I feel so helpless and confused
So powerless and small
If anyone is there to hear my call

Hope and mercy
For this alone we pray
Send us strength from somewhere
To make it through this day

Faith and courage
To help us through the night
And draw us all together
To set the world to right

I know I cannot save the world
Not by myself alone
I’m not even sure how to survive

Please tell me there is still a chance
A reason to go on
There must be hope as long as we’re alive

CHORUS

So at last we come together
To comfort and to grieve
And lean upon each other in our fears

But dawn will bring a new day
And together we will strive
To build a new tomorrow without tears

CHORUS

While I did write this song on September 11, it’s not really about the terrible events of that day. One of the first reactions I saw to the events on rec.music.filk was someone who said, “I shall write songs of vengence tonight.”

This struck me as…the wrong approach somehow, and I got to thinking about how communities, such as ours, come together to face adversity. No matter what tries to divide us, we know we can build a better tomorrow together, because we will always have each other. This is a song about coming together and dealing with adversity as a community.

This song was published with sheet music in “September 11, 2001 – A Memorial Songbook.”

Superfundamentalists

Superfundamentalists
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Supercalifragalistic” from the musical Mary Poppins
© 1999

(chorus)
Superfundamentalists enforcing my salvation
They say if i dont follow them, it means my ruination
And hope their faith will one day be the sole law of the nation
Superfundamentalists enforcing my salvation

Long ago in England by a goverment decree
The King told you exactly what your faith was going to be
So some folks bought a leaky boat and sailed across the sea
So their children would not have to live with tyranny

(chorus)

They landed on a foreign shore with no one else around
And said “Here in this frontier land, a colony we’ll found!
And since a free society is what we must achieve
No one here will tell just what you ought to believe!”

(chorus)

In time upon that virgin shore a mighty nation rose
And built their goverment around the freedoms that they chose
To speak their minds without reprisal and to print the same
And most of all, the right to choose just what their god was named

(chorus)

Much time has passed and once again the zealots have grown bold
They say the time has come that all the prophets have fortold
“This country has gone wrong,” they cry, “it’s up to us to fix!
We’ll save you from the heathens” but it’s all a bag of tricks

(chorus)

The fundies have forgot the things that made our country strong
They think that only they can know the truth of right and wrong
Be sure to keep an eye on them and every thing they do
Or else they may succeed in gaining power over you!

(chorus)

At a housefilk in 1999, a discussion of religious zealotry cropped up, and I made the comment that I was tired of of “Superfundamentalists trying to enforce my salvation.” Jerrie Adkins pointed out that the phrase “Superfundamentalists enforcing my salvation” scanned to the Mary Poppins tune, and I thought “Well, that’s clever”, wrote it down, and forgot about it.

Some months later, Gwen Knighton asked me for help finding songs about the separation of church and state that she could play at a Unitarian service. We looked through all our songbooks and couldn’t find anything we thought was quite right, and so both set out to write something. Gwen emerged with the sublime Six Days, while I remembered that throw-away line and crafted it into this song. This is another song that always turns into a sing-along.

This song is written about the myth of America, rather than drawing from real history. I’m well aware of the shortcomings of those settlers with regards to religious tolerance, but I still hope it’s not too late to try and capture the spirit of the ideals they imperfectly enacted.

Littleton Aftermath

Littleton Aftermath
Words and Music by Robert Wynne
© 1999

April 22, 1999

It’s a thing that shouldn’t happen, but too often now it will
And it breaks the heart each time you hear of someone’s children killed
Last night I turned on the evening news, and felt my blood go cold
And cried as I watched the story there unfold

The scene was Colorado, in a nice suburban school
Things like this don’t happen there! It goes against the rule
It’s not the inner city, but it happened just the same
And the reporters were all wondering who to blame

And you can say we need more gun control, or armed guards at the schools
Or that we could reach these kids with more counselers and their tools
But somehow I doubt it matters much just who the blame falls on
To a parent whose child won’t be coming home

There were sixteen or maybe more whose lives were just erased
The contributions they might have made can never be replaced
They won’t have the chance to fall in love or spread their wings and fly
And all that we can do is wonder why

What could have we done different? With whom can we find fault?
What can we do to bring this vicious cycle to a halt?
Each expert on the evening news has an viewpoint of his own
And each forgets the families left alone

And you can say we should get rid of all the violence on TV
Or that we need more laws to regulate society
But somehow I doubt it matters much just who the blame falls on
To a parent whose child won’t be coming home

I wrote this the morning after the Littleton, CO, school shootings, in an attempt to make some sort of sense of it all. It’s primarily a reaction to the talking heads and pundits who were all saying ‘Well, of course, this happened because…’ and proceding to try and tie this tragedy to whatever their pet theory about “What’s Wrong With The World Today, Especially These Kids” happened to be. The thing the media always loses track of is that these are, at heart, not national tragedies — they’re human tragedies…whatever the societal implications, there are families who are missing their loved ones tonight.

This song never did help me find any answers. It raised a lot of questions though.

I never perform this song.

Mr. President

Mr. President
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Mrs. Robinson” by Paul Simon
© 1998

We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
G. Gordon Liddy’s on the air at ten
Please be sure to tell the truth and nothing but
Now could you please tell us where, with whom, and when?

(Chorus 1)
What have you done, Mr. President?
We know you wish this all would go away
Hey hey hey
What have you done, Mr. President?
Frankly we just didn’t want to know
whoa-whoa-whoa
whoa-whoa-whoa

Screwing in your office on a Sunday afternoon
Gonna raise an awfully big debate, yeah
Lie about it, dance around it, when you are deposed
Ain’t no way you’ll come out smelling like a rose

(Chorus 1)

Hidden in an office where nobody ever goes
Secret Service standing by the door, yeah.
Please answer every question in graphic detail
Did you do it on the desk or on the floor?

(Chorus 2)
Where have you gone, H.R. Haldeman?
Even Nixon never was so bold
Whoa-whoa-whoa
Who ever thought in their wildest dreams
That Watergate could ever seem so tame?
Hey hey hey
hey hey hey

Another song about politics that’s hopelessly dated, but it was a lot of fun to write at the time. The whole controversy that inspired this song became ridiculous in short order, and I enjoyed poking fun at the media frenzy. Of course, I always enjoy poking fun at media frenzies.

The Media

The Media
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Opening Ceremonies (The Arbiter)” from the musical Chess
© 1998

We’ve a duty as the media
On the six-o-clock news
To bring you stories full of horror
tragedy despair
Do you care?
‘Course you do

We don’t care if you are sensitive
to the horrors of man
We have pictures of the victims
and you know we’ll
ask how they feel
Because we can

We’re on the scene, the feed is live
We’ll interview the ones who survive
Oh we’re the media and we know best
Here’s the bad news, don’t bother with all the rest
We’ve got the verdicts straight from the courts
We’ve got a car crash, hold on for sports
We’re the media, and we have proof
All this carnage makes ratings go through the roof

If you wanted a slight change of pace
from all this gloom and doom
We have lying politicians, business fraud, lies, a
mother cries,
And weather too!

We proclaim the public’s right to know
But that’s just an excuse
To be quite honest, we’re all in a race
To win first place, sell ad space,
Now the news…

(chorus)

The immediate inspiration for this song was a thread on rec.music.filk about how the media propagates urban legends around Halloween time. I wrote at the time: “We have lost our innocence. Easy distribution of information (and misinformation) has made it not only easy to know what is going on all over the world, but damn near impossible to avoid knowing. And as we all know, ‘there’s no news like bad news'”.

On a related note, if you aren’t familiar with Tim Rice’s musical CHESS, check it out. It’s good, good stuff.

Gingrich of Congress

Gingrich of Congress
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Lord of La Mancha” from the musical Man of La Mancha
© 1998

Hear me now, all you old disenfranchised white men!
CEOs and your rich companies!
Clad in armor of God and American flags
I call forth my majority!

I am Speaker Newt Gingrich
I’m from Pennsylvania
But Georgia’s been kindest to me!
Political backstabbing’s
my bread and butter
I thunder on self-righteously

Elect me and I’ll stamp out the gays and the poor
And the lib’rals who stand by their side
And we’ll smuggle our spies into every bedroom
To ensure that you’ve nothing to hide

I am Speaker Newt Gingrich
I’m from Pennsylvania
But Georgia’s been kindest to me!
Political backstabbing’s
my bread and butter
I thunder on self-righteously

When I speak I weave visions of futures untold
Technological marvels are neat
But we must stay on guard from the liberal horde
Who aren’t among our elite!

I am Speaker Newt Gingrich
I’m from Pennsylvania
But Georgia’s been kindest to me!
Political backstabbing’s
my bread and butter
I thunder on self-righteously
I thunder on self-righteously
Come sign my contract
Come sign my contract
Behold!

The problem with writing songs about the news is that they are so quickly “overtaken by events”. I wrote this back when Newt Gingrich was still the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

While Gingrich did have his good side (he was a major supporter of the space program), I found his political tactics obnoxious and divisive, and lay a lot of the blame for the atmosphere that surrounds our political machine today on him.

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