September 20th, 2005

Me 2012

Patriot Pop

One of the many bands koogrr's introduced me to is The Arrogant Worms.

The Arrogant Worms are* a Canadian group. A very Canadian group.

I like a number of Canadian groups, but most of them you'd never know were Canadian based on their music. Rush has more songs about America than they do about Canada. King Missile has enough spoken-word pieces that the singer's Canadian accent is discernable, and there's a distinctly Canadian tinge to their humor, but there's nothing in the material that says "this is about Canada." And the accent in Saga's music sounds more British to me than Canadian. Alanis Morissette could've been from anywhere as far as her songs go. There are probably other Canadian musicians I listen to that I just don't know are Canadian.

I don't mean to imply that most Canadian groups sound American – it'd be just as reasonable to say that most American groups sound Canadian. Unless the songs are about political or national issues, most music has a universal quality. Life and love and angst tend to be much the same wherever you are.

The Arrogant Worms, however, write songs about Canada. Funny and often self-mocking songs about Canada, but there's no mistaking it: these are Canadian songs. "The Mountie Song" ("I wanted to beat up crooks and make arrests because that's part of the profession/ But now I sit on my horse and tell American tourists the Parliament's in session"), their proposed national anthem: "Canada's Really Big" ("We're the second largest country on this planet Earth/And if Russia keeps on shrinking then soon we'll be first"), "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate" ("I'll jump their bridge and knock them cold and sail off with their hay") "Proud to Be Canadian ("We won't say that we're better, just that we're less worse") and "The Toronto Song" (which sorta contradicts "Proud to Be Canadian", now that I think about it).

It seems odd to me that the most distinctly Canadian group I know is a humor group. On the other hand, perhaps that's no odder than that the most distinctly American pop song I know, "Born in the USA", is a cynical anti-Vietnam War song and not the patriotic anthem it's often taken for.

Come to think of it, minor_architect told me that the Die Prinzen song "Deutschland" is heavily sardonic, too. I don't know if this means nationalist sentiments aren't as widespread as people think, or if I just have a knack for finding the non-patriotic sorts.

* I can't figure out if I should "The Arrogant Worms" should be singular (one group) or plural (made of several individuals). I'm pretty sure it should be singular but darn it, "The Arrogant Worms is" sounds so wrong. I bet they did that on purpose.