Top Five Best & Worst Songs About 9/11


daniels ragflag sept7.jpg
5. Charlie Daniels Band, "This Ain't No Rag It's a Flag": "This Ain't No Rag It's a Flag" badly wants to be "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" but lacks the subtlety and grace, which is saying something. Toby Keith at least has the taste to reflect briefly on his family and what having grown up around soldiers means to him before he starts his bombastic jingoism.

Charlie Daniels, on the other hand, jumps right in with cartoonish racism with the couplet "This ain't no rag, it's a flag/ And we don't wear it on our heads." Oh, Charlie. To be so simple-minded as to not only think that all Muslims are terrorists, but to also think that everyone who wears a turban is a Muslim (ask a Sikh about that). Daniels slings trite sentiment as if he's getting paid by the cliche: "We're gonna hunt you down like a mad dog"; "These colors don't run"; "Now it's time to rock and roll"; "When you mess with one, you mess with us all" and so forth.

It's one thing for performers to want to inspire the soldiers who fight for America. Daniels' chief objective seemed to be simply to let them know they were defending at least one total asshole.


4. Thriving Ivory, "Angels on the Moon": We have a hard time understanding the lyrics from this one, since they are melodramatically shrieked at us in a register only audible on the outward edges of the human hearing spectrum. They may be saying something beautiful, but we can't tell since the singer sounds like Rob Thomas on helium. As for the instrumentation, it's all hyper-dramatic, teen-drama-friendly pseudo-emo mush. There's no reason to listen to this song if you're past puberty.


3. Michael Jackson & Friends, "What More Can I Give?": The late King of Pop had some really well-produced songs; why, then, did this one make it to its final stages with nothing more than the simplest of Casio beats and synthesizers accompanying some of 2001's hottest singers? This song was never released, and it's a good thing. Jackson deserved to be remembered for better songs than this, and the 9/11 victims deserved more than poorly planned pop mediocrity.


911-songs-paul-mccartney sept7.jpg
2. Paul McCartney, "Freedom": The flipside to Sage Francis' "Makeshift Patriot," "Freedom" shows what can happen if you don't let a song cook for long enough before taking it out on the road. Namely, you end up repeating the same words over and over without adding any new ideas or personal touches, simply repeating the same words over and over while strumming the same simple chords over and over the same way you repeat the words, over and over, with no urgency or craft or thought. Over and over. It's a tad redundant, is the subtle point we're trying to drive home here.


1. Trade Martin, "We've Got to Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero": Plagued by poor production and awkward, simplistic writing, we don't think we can sum up this godawful pox on patriotism better than Jef With One F did when it first came out: : "It plays like a cut from the No Holds Barred soundtrack with lyrics that were probably written on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt showing the purchase of truck nuts."

And a shitload of beef jerky, too. Well said, Jef. And we'd like to also give props to the YouTube commenter who suggested this song be used if a sequel to Team America: World Police is ever made.


SURPRISINGLY GOOD

Wheatus, "Hometown": Yep, it's the same guy who sang that massively irritating 2000 hit "Teenage Dirtbag." Quite surprising, then, that he could produce such a well-written song, even if the electric piano does sound like it's soloing in a different key.


SURPRISINGLY BAD

Gorillaz feat. D-12, "911": Did Gorillaz lift hit-and-miss rap outfit D-12 up to their level? Nope, quite the reverse, actually. The production is throwaway and the rapping is uneven at best. It's no wonder this song was shelved and only released to the public on the Bad Company soundtrack. You remember, that dreaful Chris Rock/Anthony Hopkins movie that no one saw. You don't remember? Good. Good for you.



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22 comments
skitty14
skitty14

What about "Let's Roll" That Neil Young (A Canadian!) POS?

Rick C
Rick C

A metal band made a great song about 9-11.  It is Testament, and the song is called "The Evil Has Landed".  VERY great song describing the events on that day.  

protestfolk
protestfolk

There's a video of the public domain "Let Me Tell You About 9/11" folk song posted at the following protestfolk channel link that might also interest Houston Press readers:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Allison
Allison

Alan Jackson, Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning

Bruce Springsteen, You're Missing

Bill
Bill

I thought Overcome by Live was a bit much, in particular the marketing overdose it got. We had (in Australia) copies of the CD single given away free in weekend newspapers and it was the backing music for every fucking emotional 'interest' story about the event.

Andie
Andie

I've generally found anything by Live after Throwing Copper (and even some tracking therein) tend to be the definition of 'overwrought'

guest
guest

elvis perkins, doomsday, is good one.

April
April

Yes and he would know, his mom died in ones of the planes.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Written before 1970 - one of the best Fire and Rain by James Taylor

"... sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground ..."

AKholic
AKholic

Sage Francis and his song Makeshift Patriot was one of my favorite songs that year. Very powerful lyrics. I'm glad you recognized that track.

Arghtothejay
Arghtothejay

I remember hearing it for the first time live, I went to his merch booth and bought every record he had. It was dec 01, he was on the verge of breaking down but fought his way through it.

I have to say to the author, well done. This is still such a touchy subject, yet you some how filtered through all the hate filled songs and only gave credit to the ones that expressed true emotion of the artist, yet chastised the ones who were obviously in it for the profit.

Andie
Andie

I'd add to the 'Best' list "Anthrax" by Kimya Dawson.  It's chilling.  The title is a reference to the Anthrax attacks that came shortly after the attacks.  

She makes a lot of references to having nightmares about the attacks, and being in Montreal during a shitty tour, then finding out about the planes crashing.

the air is filled with computers and carpetsskin and bones and telephones and file cabinetscoke machines, firemen, landing gear, and cementthey say that it's okay but i say don't breathe in

jermaine
jermaine

What about "Times Like These" by the Foo Fighters???? Dave has even been quoted saying the song is an homage to the way everyone took care of each other after 9/11.

Jake
Jake

A song that is surprisingly decent with the 9/11 theme: "Skylines and Turnstiles" by My Chemical Romance...written for their first album when they were still just a run of the mill garage band well before they were famous, and not long after 9/11.

Maripoza67
Maripoza67

YES. That is such an amazing song and an amazing band. I'm sure you know 9/11 was the catalyst for the band's beginning. Excellent suggestion!

KING
KING

Shocked that "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" didn't make the list. Honestly not sure about which list it would make, but still.

Classic Rock Bob
Classic Rock Bob

One of the most moving 9-11 songs ever is "Flying" by Living Colour off their Colleidoscope album. It's from the perspective of a guy who jumps out of one of the towers. Very eerie and powerful:

I jumped out the window to get to the parking lotI'm writing this little song on my way downNever in my life have I felt a heat so hotI had to get outI was gathering up my nerve to ask out CarmenShe glanced out the windowOh my GodThe room It went away, now we’re holding handsJust not the way I planned

Such a lovely day to go flyingThe sky's so clear, the sun is shiningFate has given me wings Such a terrible funny thing

Flag? Rag? Can't it be both?
Flag? Rag? Can't it be both?

What? No Alan Jackson?!? That motherfucker was cashing the checks while the corpses of the people he was exploiting were still smoldering.

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