Friday, November 06, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #93: Fort Hood by Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty wrote about the meaning behind the song "Fort Hood," released in 2008.  He further elaborated on Stereogum:
I wouldn't call this an anti-war song, because I'm not gonna rail about who lied about what. Too late for that. I'm concerned about lost innocence, and damaged young bodies and minds. I think I say it most directly in the bridge: "You should be getting stoned with a prom dress girl...You should blast Young Jeezy with your friends in a parking lot." 

Not to mention my own guilt at being able to live a normal life while that nightmare is going on over there.
The USO invited me to Walter Reed a couple years back; I met a bunch of guys who had lost their limbs. Young guys. But I know that you don't have to be wounded to be scarred by war.

My Dad was in the Army, and I grew up in the 70s on Army bases; he, and basically all the adult men around, had been in Vietnam. There was a lot of weird, angry behavior that was baffling to me as a kid, but now I recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder. That's what I wonder about when I see guys in uniform coming back from the war, sitting around an airport; what's in this guy's head? What has he witnessed? What kind of terrible images is he burdened with?

It's oddball in indie-rock-land to steal a chorus and repurpose it; I grew up with house and hiphop music, so sampling seems very natural to me, the only difference is that I'm actually singing it. Actually, I downloaded (OK, stole) an MP3 of the Japanese cast of Hair. The verses were hilarious and strange, of course, but when the chorus came in, it suddenly switched to English: let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in. I was listening to it on the D train over the Manhattan bridge and suddenly I found myself tearing up, extremely moved.
While this song might now become inadvertently infamous, it'll pale in comparison to the overall eeriness and timing that marked Ryan Adams' "New York, New York."   But sometimes on occasions like Thursday, even the hackneyed cheesy refrain from Hair can seem oddly life-affirming. Sometimes that's the best you can hope for.

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