I was thinking about a couple ballads – Ballad of a Thin Man & The Ballad of John and Yoko. Two jewels in the crown of “fuck you” songs..
Even though I was in Jr. high I admired the shock of Ballad of A Thin Man. One of the quintessential songs to confound my little brain and leave me wondering how does a songwriter do that?
Recently read a Facebook post from musician Mimi Oz on about rough kids in a rough neighbourhood, not much different than the recent media story about female reporters attacked by the words of men trying to humiliate them by seeing how shocking they can be to disrupt the journalist’s work.
In Mimi’s case she wondered after about the pain of the kids who were trying to hurt her. She didn’t have a conclusion but I thought I should write her and remind her about the fact at least in song you can remedy the wrong. It might sound simplistic or pointless but I think it’s a heavy reality that’s your superpower as an artist. You can make art about whatever hurts you and thereby reclaim honour or self esteem…whatever needs fixing.
When you read about the shit John Lennon got into when he said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus it’s kind of amazing …. he was just telling it like it was but WHOA America went crazy burning their records etc. If you watch news conferences from then Lennon is apologizing and looking awkward, it felt like they were in major shit.
3 years later he’s in love with Yoko, rethinks events that might have humiliated him and now wants some payback. Dives back into those waters inflaming the same bunch by starting each chorus with a casual “Christ you know it ain’t easy” and in case they missed it he finishes each chorus with “they’re gonna crucify me”. A not so subtle Fuck You to all the crazies who earlier petitioned for the Beatles deportation.
Like the AMAZING final act of Punch Drunk love, “I have so much strength in me you have no idea Mattress man.”
I hope Mimi finds some healing in writing about bullshit.