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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Musical takes on Independence Day ... Part II

The second song I use to commemorate this holiday is a fitting salute to the contradictory nature of ourselves and our country: Ashes of American Flags by Wilco. It perfectly touches upon the American psyche — torn between our ideals and our reality, the lies we tell ourselves that aren't meant to be hurtful but self-preserving.

Overwhelmed by rampant consumerism and apathy, we've lost our poetic voice that once moved the souls of nations. It's not too late to reclaim it and be reborn, but we'll need to get past our fears of change and aspire to things greater than keeping a nice lawn. Rebirth can be painful, but it's necessary in order to save ourselves.

Ashes Of American Flags
by Wilco

The cash machine is blue and green
For a bundle of twenties and a small service fee
I could spend three dollars and sixty-three cents
On Diet Coca-Cola and unlit cigarettes

I wonder why we listen to poets when nobody gives a fuck
How hot and sorrowful, this machine begs for luck
All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

We want a good life with a nose for things
The fresh wind and bright sky to endure my suffering
I'm a hole without a key if I break my tongue
Oh, speaking of tomorrow, how will it ever come?

All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

I'm down on my hands and knees
Every time a doorbell rings
I shake like a toothache
When I hear myself sing

All my lies are only wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

I would like to salute
The ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
Filling up shopping bags
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