Protest songs aren't often properly angry. And when I say angry, I mean properly spitting with rage. I can think of plenty of songs that "raise concerns" or "express disapproval", but it's not often that you run into a sing like "War", one that's sung with as much wrath as conviction.
I've blogged the Rainmakers before, and noted that they're considerably more literate and eloquent than your average band, and this song just rams that point home: "Give a man a free ticket on a dead end ride/And he'll climb in the back even though nobody's driving/Too Goddamned lazy to crawl out of the wreck/And he'll rot there while he waits for the welfare check/Going to hell in a handbag, can't you see/I ain't gonna eat no Government Cheese."
You'd be forgiven for thinking this is a neo-conservative rant and, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure it isn't. But for those who take an interest in these things, it seems just a little too easy to pigeon-hole this. Bob Walkenhorst writes too cleverly, sings too passionately to take this at face value. "Give a man a free lunch and he'll figure out a way/To steal more than he can eat 'cause he doesn't have to pay/Give a woman free kids and you'll find them in the dirt/Learning how to carry on the family line of work."
It's an unpleasant, in-your-face song; Walkenhort virtually screeches some of the lyrics while the beat just keeps coming like a particularly ponderous hammer-drill. Yet I'm left thinking by this song, trying to work out just where he stands, what he really believes, despite the heavy-handed message. Is it just a hoax? Are they messing with our heads?
Knowing something of the Rainmakers' background, the only lines that ring true, that seem to come from the heart, are: "It's the man in the White House, the man under the steeple/Passing out drugs to the American people." Funny how Marx made it all the way to Kansas.