It is that time of year again. That special time after Mardi Gras, in the middle of Black History Month, when we drop our Valentine's Day chocolates and honor the past and present Presidents of the United States of America (for the shortest month of the year, February seems to really be collecting holidays.) Originally every year on George Washington's birthday, President's Day was formed in an attempt to give American workers more three day weekends (yes, that is a real fact). To me, it just seems like another weekend for giant superstores to offer mediocre sales and make outrageous commercials. Monday, children will be off school, federal organizations will be off work, but for the majority of us, life will go on as usual. In an attempt to liven our celebrations, I propose everyone wear a hat similar to one to the right.
So here we go. Ten songs in honor of every dead or alive, dirty rascal or political savior to grace the Oval Office:
10. Jay-Z - "Dead Presidents" "I'm out for presidents to represent me./ I'm out for dead presidents to represent me." Starting with the dead guys, what could be more honorary to the capitalist system that having your face immortalized on money? The ultimate status statement for dead presidents is elevated to stardom in Jay-Z's first single. Just one of many rappers to call attention to the nation's leaders on that cold hard cash. I feel confident saying that Hov has accomplished this goal.
9. The Minutemen - "If Reagan Played Disco" "If Reagan played disco, he's shoot it to shit." Sometimes I have dreams. Dreams where Reagan is a DJ in a disco club. And then I wake up with bell bottoms on and I wonder, just for second, if it was real. If there is anything punks hate more than disco, it's Reagan. If there is anything punks hate more than Reagan, it's disco.
8. Johnny Cash - "Mr.Garfield" "Mr. Garfield been shot down shot down shot down,/ Mr. Garfield been shot down low." Apparently, Johnny Cash's parents used to sing this song back when he was a kid, according to him (in this video). So it seems American music has been political from 1881, at least. For your quick presidential fact: James A. Garfield was the second president (of four) to be assassinated in U.S. history. Garfield is also the name of a lovable cartoon cat. There is no relation.
7. James Brown - "Funky President" "Hey country, didn't say what you meant./ Just brand new, funky president." The president that plays this as his/her (don't worry it's going to happen soon, ladies) inaugural address will officially be the coolest president in U.S. history. No questions asked. Don't be alarmed at the fact that this song was released during Reagan's term. It was originally written for Gerald Ford.
6. President Bill Clinton - performs "Heartbreak Hotel" on the Arsenio Hall Show No, your eyes do not deceive you. President Clinton is playing some-what mediocre saxophone while the crowd goes crazy. After seeing this, it's a wonder why there weren't lines of women backing up at the White House to climb under the desk in the Oval Office.
5. Sufjan Stevens - Jacksonville "Andrew Jackson, all I'm asking/ Show us the wheel and give us the wine." Sufjan Stevens devoted an entire album to the state of Illinois. As a Missouri girl at heart, I have absolutely no idea why. But it left us with this beautifully written song devoted to Andrew Jackson. Presidential fact: Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory" after his badass-ness. Oh yeah! Conversely, he signed off on the Trail of Tears... so there's that.
4. The Hooten Hallers - I Don't Pay No Taxes "I do not have to pay taxes, cause I'm the damn president." So the president doesn't have to pay taxes. But to be honest, not many of my friends do either. All in favor for optional taxation and descent into anarchy say "Aye."
3. They Might Be Giants - James K. Polk "Mr. James K. Polk, our eleventh president,/ Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump" I'll be honest. I have no idea who James K. Polk is. Call me an ignorant, uneducated, insult my intellect. But we have smart phones now. And the internet told he is responsible for the annexation of California and some other stuff. Although the Governator is no longer in charge, I feel it it necessary to say that "He'll be back."
2. The Animaniacs - The President's Song An educational list of U.S. Presidents After acknowledging my poor knowledge of history, I realized it was important for a quick refresher course courtesy of Warner Brothers, Yakko and Wacko, and their Warner sister, Dot. In classic '90s after-school style, here is a complete list of U.S. Presidents.
1. Johnny Horton - "Young Abe Lincoln" "Yes, Young Abe Lincoln make a tall,tall man." If President Obama really wanted to improve the education system, he would resurrect Johnny Horton and employ him as the head of the Department of Education. Because, damn, can this guy teach social studies. Check out his other history works: "The Battle of New Orleans" and "Battle of Bull Run."