Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 2, 2008; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: alternative, country, alt-country, pop, hyphy, harp-rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that Clay Aiken does.

The transcript follows.

____________________ Solange Knowles, The Lesser Sister

_______________________ Stuck in A Groove; Pay No Mind to the Lyrics: Democrats Wax Nostalgic in Musical Choices


J. Freedom du Lac: Greetings, folks.

Brooks and Dunn called. They want their GOP theme back.

Let's do this.


Washington, D.C.: The GD back together for Obama with Warren Haynes filling in for Jer? Worth a $65 dollar ticket or no? Who's gonna play the keys, Hornsby?

J. Freedom du Lac: That basically sounds like the lineup that performed at Pelosipalooza last year, when most of the Dead survivors played a mini-set as Your House Band. Pretty tasty.

Hornsby sat in for a couple of non-Dead songs. He can play a little bit, can't he?

J. Freedom du Lac: Here's my write-up of that event, btw...


Cringe-inducing convention song: Loved your story about the inappropriate lyrics of some of the songs played at the Democratic National Convention.

Did you hear what song they played right after Bill Clinton spoke? I was watching CSPAN, which didn't break away for lip flappers after his talk and so I heard the whole song, played in full. It was "Addicted to Love." Now that's just mean!

J. Freedom du Lac: I somehow missed that one. But after the story ran, I received a bunch of emails from folks who thought it was a pretty funny/evil/twisted bit of musical programming. Wonder if Bill himself caught it.


Anonymous: To follow up on the Clapham festival and show love for all the world, I note with some puzzlement that the Rock En Seine festival in Paris (the one Amy Winehouse just pulled out of - shocker) is over three days, but the days are August 20, 28 and 29. How weird is that? Why do you need a week off in the middle?

J. Freedom du Lac: It works for JazzFest.


Washington, D.C.: It's been kind of a blah year for pop music, but Fall's coming up, which always promises lots of big releases. Anything coming out soon you're particularly interested in? Me, I'm looking forward to new albums from Keane, The Killers, and the Jennifer Hudson debut.

J. Freedom du Lac: You mean besides Jessica Simpson's first foray into the wilds of Nashville?

Here are a few (and don't quote me on the release dates, which are always moving targets):

Raphael Saadiq, "The Way I See It", Sept 16

Jenny Lewis, "Acid Tongue," Sept 23

Robin Thicke, "Something Else," Sept 30

Oasis, "Dig Out Your Soul" and Lambchop's "OH," both Oct 7

Brad Paisley, "Play," Nov 4

And the Amerie album that will never come out.


Inglewood, Calif.: Taking a 'break' from my iPod collection I tuned into a local 'hip-hop & r&b' station, and it seemed everyone was singing through a voice box and not even pretending to use real instruments. Roger Troutman was innovative, Peter Frampton could at least play the guitar; if this is 'modern' popular music, I'm going back to Ella and Bobby Darin on my iPod.

Is it just me, or is it really this bad?

J. Freedom du Lac: I could use a little less AutoTuning in my life, but I don't think it's the worst thing that's ever happened in pop music. It's another instrument - or, I guess, the effects-pedal equivalent for vocals. When used in the right context, in the right way, I'm fine with it.


Chicago, Ill.: Bristol Palin's favorite band (whom I found using teh Google):

J. Freedom du Lac: Very clever.

Not sure that the baby daddy, Levi Johnston, would be into the band, though. I think Ludacris, Staind and Kid Rock are more his speed.


NYC: Can your or your readers recommend a good music set to help a 17 year old girl get though a pregnancy and delivery? I think iTunes should have this as iMixes. Or should we ask Bristol her iMix recommendations?

J. Freedom du Lac: Might start with a "Fun Fun Fun" remake, with an updated lyric: "She'll have fun fun fun...til her mommy takes the Arctic Cat away."


Introducing Sarah Palin: They should use 'Papa Don't Preach'

J. Freedom du Lac: Or, in keeping with the theme of using songs for their titles/refrains and not really considering what they actually mean: "American Woman."


Just wanted to share: Messing around iTunes yesterday, I discovered Lucrezio de Seta and his Scurvy Brothers. Nothing like hearing Steely Dan songs sung by a Spanish-accented female. Any time I can combine Fagen's songs with a Penelope Cruz sound-alike's voice, I'm in.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'll have to give 'em a listen.

I'd prefer a Penelope Cruz lookalike, btw, but your mileage may vary.


J. Freedom du Lac: By the by, my Springsteen-loving colleague Paul Kane - who has been railing against the use of "The Rising" at political rallies for some time now - made a very good point re the use of the song around Biden's appearances.

"I'd contend that in some way, some odd way, that 'The Rising' has finally met its man in politics. Biden, in so many ways the past 36 years, has essentially lived the life - politically and personally, spiritually - of the guy who's died and gone on to the after life. Almost as if his appearance now on a national ticket is the continuation of the song, as if his veep nomination was the culmination of the 'dream of light.' After everything he's gone through -- the deaths of wife/daughter, the Kinnock stuff in '87, the aneurysm, the botched Anita Hill hearings, an '08 campaign that ended with him getting 0 delegates -- Biden's living in both the personal and political afterlife."

I don't totally agree with Paul - to me, it's still a stretch to apply a narrative about the FDNY and 9/11 to anything other than 9/11 rescue workers. But this does make the campaign's use of the song a little bit less appalling.


Introducing John McCain: and perhaps they could use "Masters of War"

J. Freedom du Lac: I think he already found his theme.


Washington, D.C.: Were you at the Liz Phair show last week? If so, did you get the same slightly weird vibe from it that I did? It seemed, well... a little less than sincere.

J. Freedom du Lac: I would've been there but for the fact that I had to monitor the convention songs.

Turns out, she played a short early set to make sure those who were so inclined could still get home to watch Obama (or Radiohead's concert webcast). But if I'd gone, I would've missed hearing "Let the Sun Shine In" from "Hair" when Al Gore came on and off the stage.

Joe Heim's review of the Liz Phair show is here.


For the 17 year old's mix: Springsteen's Spare Parts. With the opening line, "Bobby said he'd pull out, but Bobby stayed in," what could be more appropriate?

J. Freedom du Lac: I see your Springsteen, and raise you Eric Church's " Two Pink Lines." Though really, that's a song for the babydaddy. And it's also about the anxiety of not knowing whether there's a baby on board.

"One means none and we're home free/Two means three and a diamond ring."

Oops. (Literally.)


Washington, D.C.: Is Jenny Lewis the singer from Rilo Kiley? If so, then I'm looking forward to her album too, since I love that band.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, though I prefer to think of her as Jenny Lewis who released a terrific mostly solo album two years ago in "Rabbit Fur Coat," on which she was backed by the Watson Twins, and also performs with Rilo Kiley (and, sometimes, the Postal Service).

Here's one (goofy) video of a J-Lew song. Hate the laugh track, but...


Long Beach: Any chance the GOP will play "North to Alaska"? I love that tune, and it's on every jukebox in Alaska, bar none. I love the back-up lyrics of "mush,mush"

J. Freedom du Lac: Given the strange turn of events, this might be a better pick.


Anonymous: Will Jackson Browne be receiving any settlement money from McCain for illegally using his song in an attack ad?

J. Freedom du Lac: Has he filed a lawsuit?


Wheaton, Md.: Pretty amusing stuff today, with people funnin' on a 17 year old pregnant kid. Anybody want to josh on the Palin's 4 month old with Down's Syndrome? Hilarity abounds, keep it comin'...

J. Freedom du Lac: You haven't spent much time online today, have you?


Washington, D.C.: You can hear the title track off Jenny Lewis' new albums if you go to her website: She's also coming to town in October, but I think it's sold out.

J. Freedom du Lac: Sixth and I Synagogue, which is a lovely little venue - unless you get there late and wind up sitting directly over the stage, in anything but the first row. Horrible sightlines up there.


Reston:, Va. Do you wish to post your thoughts on the possibility we've seen the last of the Boss and E Street or are the wounds still too fresh?

J. Freedom du Lac: No, because I don't believe that we have.


J-Lew?: Does she really go by that?

If not, stop it, it's really creeping me out.

If so, well, then I guess I'll just have to embrace the neo-irony emanating from the woman who can do no wrong.

J. Freedom du Lac: No, not really.

On the set list I swiped at the Birchmere, it says simply: "Jennifer." With hearts on either side.


"...I'd prefer a Penelope Cruz lookalike": Oh, yeah. I just closed my eyes to listen and there was my Penny, singing just for me.

Gotta go--here comes the missus.

J. Freedom du Lac: I hear ya. And on my end, gotta go, too ... here comes the editor.

Thanks for stopping by today, folks. See you at Amoeba at the old Park Bowl on Haight.


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