Old Model Army, or Why I’m Not Emo Anymore

I was an angry, disillusioned, totally emo chick in college. 

I’m not exactly sure how it happened. 

(Translation: it would take far longer than this blog post to explain, and I’m not sure we’re at the stage in our interwebs relationship where I open up that much.  )

Right.  So, angry.  Emo.  My writing 101 prof called me a nihilist existentialist. 

Wow.  Really?  No, really?

Well.  What sort of music does a nihilist existentialist listen to?

Why, New Model Army, of course.   My favorite album of theirs, The Ghost of Cain.

They were angry.  Oh, so very angry.  I submit the following selections from the track list as evidence: 

The Hunt – Vigilante-ism at its finest:

“No police, no summons, no courts of law | no proper procedures, no rules of war | no mitigating circumstance | no lawyer’s fees no second chance”

“We can spend our whole life waiting for some thunderbolt to come | Or we can spend our whole life waiting for some justice to be done | Unless we make our own”

Lights Go Out – The worker’s lament:

“I went to my father, said please make me king… | He said son, well you gotta do your time | I’ve done 53 years and I haven’t yet done mine | You’re just one of the millions waiting in line”

“Though we asked for the money, and money they gave | God how that made us easy to enslave | So today at the office, we picked up the check | A chain of gold, a stab in the back | The old men went home, silent and bowed | And the young men went drinking, drowning it out”

51st State – Great Britain’s anti-american anthem:

 “Yeah tip your hat to the Yankee conquerors | We’ve got no reds under the bed | We’ve guns under our pillows”

“Here in the land of opportunities, hah | Oh watch us revel in our liberty | Well you can say what you like, but it doesn’t change anything | Cause the corridors of power, they’re an ocean away”

All of This – Western foreign policy rant:

 “Frustrated and impatient and intelligent sharp and twisted like a child | Death is an aphrodisiac now | There’s fuses on the table slowly wired”

 “Soldiers out at the discoteque pick up a girl and drink to home afar | Spending money like water on the watered drinks available at the bar | The ones who never were given much never asked much of anything in recall | But there’s a black bag in the corner and it doesn’t bel0ng to anyone here at all”

“In the name of the people, all of this done | In the name of the people”

Western Dream – i.e. the american dream, uh, is a dream, but media is gonna shove it down your throat:

Gather round and listen and I’ll tell you how it’s done | How they managed to make idiots out of everyone | Take a human population with their hunger and their pain, and the weaknesses that cripple them again and again”

“All lies all lies all schemes all schemes | Every one of you is a loser in the western dream” 

Ballad – Most depressing “we fucked up the world” song EVAR, complete with sad harmonica:

“When they look back at us and they write down their history | What will they say about our generation | We’re the ones who knew everything | Still we did nothing | Harvested everything | Planted nothing”

“Floating in comfort on waves of our apathy | Quietly gnawing away at our body | Till we mortgaged the future | Buried our children”

“Well I stand on this hill | And I watch her at night | A thousand square miles and a million orange lights | Wounded and scarred she lies silent in pain | Raped and betrayed in the cold acid rain”

“Not foolish and brave, these leaders of ours | Just stupid and petty, unworthy of power | Just a little leak here, and a small error there | Another square mile, poisoned forever”

Master Race

“And the opposition, well we ain’t doing so well | Our understanding is weak here, and  knowledge is small | Though the kids scrawl frustration on a backstreet wall | Well most of them can’t even spell ‘bastard'”


 Ouch.  Ouch ouch ouch.  Sometimes, it’s hard to listen to this album. 

So where am I going with this?

I listen to this album still.  And I enjoy it, for the memories, and the emotion, but so many of these songs just don’t ring true for me anymore.  And that makes me glad…nay, grateful.  Thankful.  To be  perfectly honest, I really must give some of the credit to our newly elected president for laying much of those feelings to rest.  Not that last year I was all RAWR I HATE MY COUNTRY, but it sure was painful to watch the things that were happening.  They’re still happening, it’s true, but there’s a pervading sense of hope now. 

Thank you, my country.  I’ve always loved you.  But as Michelle Obama said, I’m once again proud to be an American.

Five Years Later

Five years later, the Senate finds no link between Iraq and al Qaeda

Five years later, we are no safer, just more aware.

Five years later, there’s a both a big-screen and a made for TV movie. In my mind, the deepest travesty.

Five years later, our country is torn apart by bipartisanship.

Five years later, the American people have little trust in their leaders, and no faith in those leaders’ vision.

Five years later, I am proud to be a New Yorker at heart, but am embarrassed to call myself an American.