Imagine that fans are not happy, and they complain about it.
Imagine that the band decides to push back… in song.
It’s happened before. It’s happened quite frequently, actually. Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan, The Decemberists, and U2 have all answered their fans and critics in song.
In today’s “Listening Closer,” I take a closer listen to a new song by The Decemberists: “The Singer Addresses His Audience.” And then I invite you on a trip through more “talk back” songs from Bob Dylan and other artists.
I wish I’d had room to include all of the great talk-back songs that were suggested by readers who contributed to the Facebook conversation that I started on this subject. So consider these to be some “Deleted Scenes” from the column…
Joanna Roddy pointed to the song that recently stormed up the charts like the attack of the 50-foot-woman: Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
Joe Kickasola highlighted Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Katie Fox wrote,
After Natalie Maines’ statements against the Iraq War and the ensuing backlash against the Dixie Chicks, a few of the songs on their next album (and last) were of this variety: ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ and ‘The Bitter End’ come to mind.
Stephen Lamb called out Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ “Shine Like Lightning.”
Peter Chattaway thought of Terry Scott Taylor and Swirling Eddies’ aptly titled “A Medley of Our Hit.”
Hannah Long had a different spin on the “talk-back” song. She suggested Andrew Peterson’s “I’ve Got News,” from Resurrection Letters Vol. II — a sincere attempt to correct false impressions about Christian singers:
Specialists in this kind of song? Frank Zappa. U2. David Bazan (“Selling Advertising” challenges me every time I write a review.) Sam Phillips’s song “Expectations” was a farewell to the judgmentalism of the Christian music industry. And, of course… Bob Dylan, himself. Make your demands, but Dylan… he ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.
If you think of other great talk-back songs, be sure to share it in a comment here, at Christ & Pop Culture.