Why does every song written about Sept. 11 have to suck so badly? I guess it's still just too soon. Not for any sensitivity issues mind you, rather from a songwriter's standpoint-you just cannot intelligently, objectively tackle the issues surrounding such a tragedy while still wallowing in the midst of it. As the saying goes, “You can't see the forest because all those damn trees are in the way.”
Also, writing about 9/11 is cheap. Who needs original thought when all you have to do is regurgitate Sept. 11 catchphrases and suddenly you got tears flowing and hands holding and voices sing-alonging and people applauding you for displaying such meaningful sorrow. It's like when the opening band shouts out the name of the headliner because it's a guaranteed reaction-getter.
For two straight evenings, I traversed a maze of Web rings like Songs of Memory or Heal the Pain We Bear-consisting of dozens and dozens of obscure, mediocre artists. For two nights, Woodbridge red at my side, I listened to their laments about Sept. 11, 2001. Oh Christ, how I twisted in my headphones: each Web site, each song-just another jagged stone in an avalanche of suck.
Sept. 11 tribute songs have four basic lyrical themes:
1) Songs about Putting a Boot in Someone's Ass: A good example is Toby Keith's oafish, “The Angry American”: “This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage/And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A/Because we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way.”
(Toby is still very much in the midst of it. He doesn't realize that, so far, the only ass that has any boots in it is our own-four cylindrical, metal, wingtipped boots).
2) Patriot Songs, Flag-Waving Songs, etc: Like, “Stand Up for the USA,” by Fani Mancini. Or how about this kettle of vomit by Matty Oz: “We're Americans/ We're known for pulling through/We're Americans/We bleed red, white and blue.
(What is this notion that only Americans know how to “pull through.” Is the survival instinct solely an American trait? Wouldn't the peoples of every nation rebuild after a fall? Jesus, even ants regroup after you destroy their nest).
3) Songs That Mention Jesus, God or the Devil: Suffice to say, religion quite regularly rears its ghastly head from the slag-vat of obscure, mediocre 9/11 songs. I especially enjoyed the tunes about all those faces and images of Satan that supposedly materialized inside the billowing black clouds of the twin towers: “The faces in the smoke could be warning everyone/The Devil might be saying, ‘It's not long until I come.'”
(Side note: Last week, I was gazing at the passing clouds, and I saw an ominous outline of a duck. Oh God help me, the ducks are coming, the ducks are coming!)
4) Songs That Mention Saving the Children: There are plenty of obscure, mediocre songwriters with their “Save the children” songs. But the most famous is Charlie Daniels' “Last Fallen Hero”: “We will make whatever sacrifice/ Pay whatever price/ So the children of tomorrow can be free.”
(But what about me!? May I too be free? What about me?)
Anyway, after surfing all those Web rings, I realized that I'm the only obscure, mediocre songwriter left who doesn't have a 9/11 song. So I bucked up and wrote a musical response to Sept. 11, 2001. I called it, “When the Towers Fell like Great Falling Cement Things.”
And I was so pleased with the song that I called my pal David Allen Coe and told him that I had written the perfect 9/11 song. David Allen Coe listened and said that it was not the perfect 9/11 song “because it didn't say nothing about America or Jesus or the children, or kicking ass or ducks.
So I tried again. It's a fight song in the key of D called “Jesus Will Help Us Kick Your Ass for the Children.”
Jesus will help us kick your ass for the children And we'll raise our banners high Victory is ours for sure What about the children, the children, the children?
God will help us fuck you up And we'll sing, “America-land of the free,” And crack cinderblock over anyone's head Who dare not wave it as high and proud as me.
Jesus will help us kick your ass And the children will all be fine (whew) And grow up to kick your children's asses Again and again till the end of time.
Oh Christ help me, the ducks are coming! Quack quack-they're coming indeed. The ducks, the ducks, the ducks are coming! Quack-quack, quack-quack. Quaaack-quaccck.
(Repeat/fade-with sirens and screams in background.)
*** For more about ducks visit www.edwindecker.com. Ducker receives his hate mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The editor also enjoys reading duck-directed hate mail: email@example.com.