Scrapbook is always hearing how the music and comedy scenes in Britain are so much better when the Tories are in power. Despite this, the current number one single in Britain is Simon Cowell’s newest characterless throwaway singing doll and the current biggest selling stand up DVD is, er, John Bishop. Whether this bucking of the trend is down to the New Politics of Coalition™ is hard to say.
We at Scrapbook Towers have, however, noticed a strange occurrence: a coalition of political music and comedy – reflecting circumstance perhaps? Here are ten that caught our eye this year, chronologically:
The Hayek vs Keynes rap: An epic seven and a half minute rap battle between the two economist heraldeds most by the left and right respectively. The longest and most well-produced of all the list, and a sure contender for the best.
Lord Ashcroft, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz? A rare musical effort from the internet satirist Beau Bo D’Or, whose works usually comes in poster form. This song tackles the subject of Lord Ashcroft’s funding of the Tories election campaign. Beau Bo Dor sadly stopped blogging this year.
The Ed Balls Rap: There aren’t all that many political funk songs flying around (‘Funky President’ by James Brown being an exception) but that’s exactly what The Solar Dogs went for when they wrote this stirring endorsement for the Ed Balls leadership campaign. If you know who the people are who refer to Balls as “sex on legs”, please do get in touch.
I Read Some Marx (And I Liked It): Seemingly filmed in an American college dorm (British translation: student accommodation), with little more than a handheld camera, a Katy Perry CD and a copy of Das Kapital, this is probably the most lo-fi song to make our list. It also has, in the form of that bloke in the cap who can’t rap, the most punchable person on our list.
How To Pick Between Milibands: The debate may still rage on as to whether this song swung it for Ed, but this reworking of Rage Against The Machine’s reworking of Cypress Hill’s ‘How I Could Just Kill A Man’ is fondly remembered by Scrapbook for the hours spent trying to think of Miliband related hip-hop puns. A must listen.
Liar Liar: Now that the Christmas number one has been decided (and with ‘Liar Liar’ coming an admirable 81 places off top spot), let’s be frank about this song. It was crap. Like, properly rubbish. It felt contrived, like the songwriters had gathered together a focus group of Guardian readers and asked what they would like from a charity single. Now, feel free to guilt people into buying charity singles because the charities deserve it, but please don’t pretend the song is any good. Take note of Bob Geldof’s focus on the “Give us yer fuckin’ money” hard sell and “Look at all these celebrities we’ve got” soft sell rather than producing anything of artistic worth.
U Can’t Cut This: Another parody, this time of MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’, was the work of students from University of the Arts, protesting against the Government’s cuts to higher education. Worth watching alone for the rapper’s wonderful “Hammer Dance”.
The Ground Zero Mosque Songs: This entry is actually two songs, arguing whether a Muslim cultural centre should be built in Manhattan or not. They manage to epitomise both sides of the argument through cringey American earnestness. The first is a foot-stompin’, hair-rasin’, darn-tootin’ conservative country song which accuses them Muslims of “thumbing their noses” at 9/11 victims while the second is an angry liberal, eloquent white boy putting the world to rights through his webcam. Verdict: White boy wins. But he looks like a dull, humourless man.
The Wikileaks Rap: Another brash, well-produced geek rap (political hack-rap?) in a similar vein to Keynes vs Hayek. This is well worth the six-minute length for the satirical imitations of Rumsfeld, O’Reilly and Julian Assange before an actual real cameo appearance by Assange himself!
Cameron’s Twelve Days of Christmas: Very funny in parts, and the animation is pleasing, but the singing is like listening to a dying kitten wail as it realises the Government has cut all funding to the industry that produces balls of twine.
If you’ve enjoyed these then take a look at Dusty Trice’s similar video round-up from across the pond.