Todd Snider

Satirical Songs

April 30, 2009 // 18 Comments

I’ve known about Kinky Friedman for some years now. Actually, I should be more specific and say that I’ve known Kinky Friedman’s name for quite some years now. Because, to be honest, the only thing I really knew about him until very recently is that Willie Nelson supported him for Texas Governor in 2006, which should have peaked my interest enough to research him back then.

It wasn’t until recently, after doing an Amazon search for stray Todd Snider songs, that I realized that the colorful and fascinating Friedman, while politically extreme at times, was quite the singing satirist. On the 2006 album Why The Hell Not…The Songs of Kinky Friedman, I discovered an incredible cast of artists (Willie Nelson, Todd Snider, Bruce Robison, Asleep at the Wheel, Delbert McClinton, Charlie Robison, Dwight Yoakam, Kevin Fowler & Jason Boland) doing covers of Friedman’s songs, many so sharp that I was more than a little taken aback at first. Through satire and, sometimes, even seriousness, Freidman offers a lot of social commentary that is often colorful and always intriguing.

Discussion: iPod Check

December 9, 2008 // 41 Comments

This afternoon, it took me seventy minutes to get to my final and fifteen minutes to actually take it.   It was the traffic jam to end all traffic jams, requiring navigations of Brooklyn and Queens that were mind-numbingly convoluted. What kept me from losing my temper?  My iPod.   Nothing quite like Todd Snider and Rodney Carrington to lighten the mood. We haven’t had an iPod Check in a long time, so given that it was my sanity-saving device today, it’s as good a night as any. No funny rules or complicated instructions here.   Just turn on your iPod/mp3 player and hit shuffle. My first ten songs: The Offspring, “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” Restless Heart, “You Can Depend on Me” Whitney Houston, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” Johnny Cash, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” Madonna, “Act of Contrition” Iris Dement, “Childhood Memories” M.C. Hammer, “Pumps and a Bump” New Radicals, “Jehovah Made Read More

Discussion: Different Approaches

November 23, 2008 // 8 Comments

Typically, I listen to the songs on my iPod via the various playlists I’ve created. However, the other day, for some reason, I listened to my iPod on shuffle. These were the first two songs my iPod played: Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee” and Todd Snider’s “Conservative, Christian, Right-Wing Republican, Straight White American Males.” No joke. Apparently, my iPod has a sense of humor. The “joke” got me thinking, however, about country songs that tackle similar subject matter from opposite points of view or take divergent approaches to the same theme. It’s fairly easy these days to find songs with a similar take on a subject matter, but finding differing takes is a little more difficult. Browsing through my iPod, I came up with a few additional pairs: Carrie Underwood’s “All American Girl” celebrates the success of the stereotypical all-American girl, while Terry Allen’s “The Great Joe Bob” celebrates the Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Todd Snider

August 29, 2008 // 12 Comments

908 miles. That’s the total distance, door-to-door, from my home in New York to the college I attended in Nashville, Tennessee. If you leave at a decent hour of the day, it’s going to take you 16 or 17 hours. If you do it overnight, you can cut that down to 13. It was always easy to get a friend to drive up with me to New York, as the allure of the Big Apple was worth the drive. It was on one of those overnight drives, as we sped down I-81 in Virginia, that I was told, “You have to listen to this CD. You’re gonna love this guy.” This guy was Todd Snider, and the album was Songs for the Daily Planet. My friend was right. I was instantly hooked. Soon, I was buying his entire catalog. But it was once I was done with college, and East Read More

Todd Snider, “Mission Accomplished (Because You Gotta Have Faith)”

August 5, 2008 // 7 Comments

Todd Snider has the social conscience of a Rodney Crowell, mixed with the wry, detached humor of a Mitch Hedberg. Too many artists lose their sense of humor when they attempt to make social commentary, but Snider uses humor to strengthen his. The result is akin to a stand-up on a soapbox. All of this is evident on the lead single from his upcoming album, Peace Queer. The title may be a shout-out to that infamous 2003 banner, but the humor is found in the parentheses. The song blends the rhythm of a military march with the guitar hook from George Michael’s “Faith.” The first verse begins with an anecdote about Will Rogers, and is followed by one of Snider’s most amusing lines to date: “I met a girl with a Midas touch. I could never get her to touch very much.” Weightier observations soon emerge, and there’s a reference Read More

Todd Snider, Peace, Love and Anarchy

April 7, 2007 // 2 Comments

Todd Snider Peace, Love and Anarchy Anybody who has seen Todd Snider live knows that he performs with just an acoustic guitar. No backup singers, no supporting musicians, and only a harmonica around his neck to spice things up. He has to sell the song with his delivery alone. Amazingly enough, those live performances have more personality and depth than most of what Snider has put on tape to date. With Peace, Love and Anarchy, the first of hopefully many such collections, we finally have the studio equivalent of those live performances. The compilation collects demo versions of songs that have appeared on earlier Snider albums, along with unreleased material. As good as “Nashville” and “Missing You” were on their original albums, they sound much better here. The humor of the former track shines through in a more natural way, with Snider cracking himself up and ad-libbing a few good Read More

Top Twelve Songs about America

July 4, 2005 // 2 Comments

We’ve been a bit overwhelmed in country music with patriotic songs since 9/11, and many of them have the stench of expolitation, poor taste, or just plain bad songwriting. In my opinion, the best songs about America tell about Americans, and their experiences. Some of the songs on this list do that; others do talk about America as a whole, but not in your typical flag-waving style. I think they all give Lee Greenwood a run for his money. Here are my 12 favorite songs about America: 12. Sawyer Brown, “Café On The Corner” The story of 50-year old man who has lost his farm, and is now cleaning tables and washing dishes at a small-town café. The darker side of the American dream, this was released just when the homeless were looking more and more like us. What if you want to work but you can’t find the work? Read More

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