Camper Van Beethoven rock opera

L. Bird pkeets at
Sat Dec 4 23:27:21 CST 2004

Mark will like the comment here:

Camper Van Beethoven

You can say this about George W. Bush: he’s made the world safe for rock 
operas again. First, before the election, there was Green Day’s great 
American Idiot. And, now — to tide over those who like their rock with a 
side order of irony — there’s New Roman Times, a presidential indictment 
that also happens to be Cracker frontman David Lowery’s first new album with 
his original band, Camper Van Beethoven, in 15 years.

The album is told from the point of view of a soldier who joins a military 
unit in a not-so-distant-version of the future — or so we’re told in the 
liner notes, since, like everything from Quadrophenia to American Idiot, the 
actual story isn’t that clear from the songs. But it doesn’t matter. 
Lowery’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics stand up even without the story, especially 
on "Militia Song," when he sings, "Let’s go get these commies/don’t forget 
the queers/and their intellectual allies," over a jaunty, old-time-country 
backdrop. The album closes with "Hey Brother," supposedly a song about a 
suicide bomber, but equally easy to interpret — pre-November 2 — as a 
things-will-be-better-if-you-wait mantra. Let’s hope that, four years from 
now, we’ll still want to sing along when Lowery moans optimistically, "Hey 
sister/we’re on our way."


Issue Date: November 26 - December 2, 2004

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