What Are the Most Federalist Songs?

Something Will said this Summer boomeranged and smacked me into thinking about Federalist songs.

What would make a song distinctively Federalist?  I began to brainstorm characteristics which I thought Federalist in nature: SCIENCE, FUTURE, HOPE, FREE, WORLDLY, REGENERATING, OPEN-MINDED, and so forth.  Many songs are upbeat, and do convey multiple aspects of Federalist thinking.  In fact, I think that when some people think about the spirit of ROCK, they do so with a very Federalist ideal: think Jack Black in School of Rock or Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny.

I’m going to withhold my favorites in hopes that we get some traffic going here at the site.  PLEASE (you know you love it when I beg) respond and leave your ideas for the most Federalist songs.  Additionally, feel free to add comments on the nature of Federalism in music, as I tend to focus on lyrics.  (Yeah, I’m tone deaf.)

There can also be submissions for songs that are ANTI-Antifederalist, as I believe “Signs” to be.  You remember that one: “Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign…”, right?

If I can find a way to post music, as I think I might be able to at MySpace, I can do some of that, too.


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  • stepwinder says:

    When I first read Scipio’s Dream, I was intrigued by the music of the spheres. What would that overwhelming, all-knowing but all encompassing music sound like? To borrow a phrase from another favorite book, what would the sound of life, the universe and everything sound like?

    Having spent a recent weekend reveling in music at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, this reminds me of a conversation my husband and I had about music–what I like vs. what he likes.

    I like a wall of sound. I want it to come at me from every direction. I like it when the stage is full, the sound is full, and the crowd throbbing. To me, in that moment, we’re all playing our part in a singular moment. That music and the moment overtake you. The music is you and you are the music. That’s my Federalist moment in song.

    So, what does my husband like? Boring crap. (It’s fair…He’d tell you I like chaotic messed up crap.)

    No, seriously, he wants more quiet and simple moments. He likes a musician who has the confidence to incorporate silence into the music. It’s more simple. Each musician’s contribution is a bit more distinguishable. You know what each musician is contributing. Their roles are perhaps better defined…they’re not all charging at the front to take the lead. Perhaps that’s what Antifederalist music might sound like.

    I was blown away by The Killers. He tapped his foot to Bella Fleck. We were both going to enjoy the White Stripes and can’t imagine a more exciting live music experience than seeing Austin’s Ghostland Observatory.



  • Laura says:

    Hey, guys!

    OK. I don’t feel much like punctuating. Deal with it.
    The Wall, by Pink Floyd
    BYOB, by System of a Down
    A lot of Rage Against the Machine songs. The band name says it all.

    Most anything by the Talking Heads.
    Come Together and Imagine by the Beatles (the whole “why can’t we just get along? theme)

    My 18-year-old, Stuart, came up with the System and Rage ideas. Credit where credit is due!

    Love y’all,

  • Larry says:


    Here is my measly initial public offering:

    I like the federalist-ness of this lyric from Kanye West’s song, “Everything I Am”:

    Now everything I’m not, made me everything I am.
    Damn, here we go again.
    People talkin shit, but when the shit hit the fan
    Everything I’m not, made me everything I am.

    The “everything I’m not made me everything I am” reminded me of Madison’s (federalist) belief that the Constitution was good as it was. No Bill of Rights needed.

    Actually, I think West needs to rename his song, “The Ninth Amendment Song.” That’s my attempt at being funny or ironic. Tell me if you laughed. Hugs and kisses, Larry

  • stepwinder says:

    I laughed…and love the Kanye West reference. What about the idea of incorporating your weaknesses as the fundamental strength of the system. I think that’s in the lyrics you provided too.

    Watched Kanye on SNL last weekend. He made a name for himself by combining different styles of music. His invention or contribution wasn’t in a new style of music itself but in the combination.

    There’s something Federalist about that too.


  • hobbes21 says:

    Wow!! Great to see so many responses..!

    Here are my Top Three with sample lyrics from each. (With some work, I may be able to bring the audio to my MySpace page.)

    3) “New Song” by Howard Jones. I remember listening to this tune time and again on my yellow Sony sports walkman (cassettes seem like a dream!) on the bus. I was a New Wave kid, too chicken to slice my hair in a wedge. This song screams Federalism from its title to its optimist’s lyrics.

    I’ve been waiting for so long
    To come here now and sing this song
    Don’t be fooled by what you see
    Don’t be fooled by what you hear

    This is a song to all my friends
    They take the challenge to their hearts
    Challenging preconceived ideas
    Saying goodbye to long standing fears

    Don’t crack up
    Bend your brain
    See both sides
    Throw off your mental chains

    I don’t wanna be hip and cool
    I don’t wanna play by the rules
    Not under the thumb of the cynical few
    Or laden down by the doom crew

    2) “Centerfield” by John Fogerty. Yes, it’s another upbeat tune. Yet, it seems so much larger than just baseball. See lyrics below…

    Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
    We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
    A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
    Anyone can understand the way I feel.

    Oh, put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
    Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
    Look at me, I can be centerfield.

    Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
    You know I took some lumps when the mighty Casey struck out.
    So say hey Willie, tell Ty Cobb and Joe Dimaggio;
    Don’t say “it ain’t so”, you know the time is now.


    Yeah! I got it, I got it!

    Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes;
    You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride.
    Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all – a moment in the sun;
    (pop) it’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye!

    1) “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. When I heard this song, it seemed to be so much of who I am, and so much of what I love in young people. Not all of the lyrics are here, but the last two lines tap to the core of Federalist thought.

    I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
    I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

    Staring at the blank page before you
    Open up the dirty window
    Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

    Reaching for something in the distance
    So close you can almost taste it
    Release your innovations
    Feel the rain on your skin
    No one else can feel it for you
    Only you can let it in
    No one else, no one else
    Can speak the words on your lips
    Drench yourself in words unspoken
    Live your life with arms wide open
    Today is where your book begins
    The rest is still unwritten

    Oh, oh, oh

    I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
    We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way

  • Larry says:

    Most excellent, Hobbes21. I’m feeling “Centerfield,” too. The others songs are unfamiliar to me, but the verses are great.

  • Keith says:

    Yeah, glad you appreciate the “Centerfield”! I love that he wants to play, he wants to give the game a ride, and that he doesn’t want first base or right: HE WANTS CENTER. There’s the courage of activism!

    “New Song” is way-80s. I mean, there’s synthesizer (Does anyone else remember Howard Jones..?) and even a sythesized clap. (Yipes!!) Still, the Fed I feel is the newness and the open-mindedness.

    “Unwritten” might have been channeled by Madison (or maybe Elmo): it’s that blessed Federalist.

    Thanks for the feedback..!


  • Laura says:

    Hobbes21–Valdemort? Or who? Or maybe Who? Not “whom-“–subjective case in the original question.

    Who, The: “See Me, Feel Me” strikes me thusly–the “you” may be the musical embodiment of Leviathan!

    See me, feel me, touch me, heal me (isn’t that socio-political activism?)

    Listening to you, I hear the music
    Gazing at you, I feel the heat
    Following you, I climb the mountains,
    I get excitement at your feet.

    Looking at you, I see the glory
    From you I get opinions,
    From you I get the story

    (I think the verbs and prepositions are correct….)

  • Laura says:

    Keith & all,

    I’m lovin’ the CDs–so is Stuart. Here are a few more songs I’ve contemplated in the past 36 hours:

    Crystal Blue Persuasion–Tommy James and the Shondells (“Peace and good, brotherhood….”)
    Aquarius–5th Dimension (“No more problems or divisions…and the mind’s true liberation….”)
    United We Stand–Sonny & Cher ((United we stand, divided we fall, and if our backs should ever be against the wall, we’ll be together”) (I know, I’m dating myself)
    The Chain–Fleetwood Mac (“And if you don’t love me now and will never love me again, I can still hear you sayin’ we must never break the chain”)
    Chuck al Hashib–Pain (I love this song–it’s fun! About a dog-eat-dog state of war and vigilantism in the desert!) (“Shady was afraid–he hired assassains to save his ass and…”)
    Gold Dust Woman–Fleetwood Mac (“Did she make you cry? make you break down, shatter your illusions of love? And is it over now? Do you know how to pick up the pieces and go home?”) (“she” can be metaphorical)
    Beer for My Horses–Toby Keith & Willie Nelson (“Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang ’em high in the streets–for all the people to see.”)
    Ballad of Richard Corey–Beatles (victim of capitalism run amok: “But I, I work in his factory. I curse the life I’m livin’, curse my poverty.”)
    Allentown–Billy Joel (dissolution of society)

  • Laura says:

    This is much more entertaining than having one song stuck in my head that I can’t displace! And it beats the $#!% out of endless crossword or sudoku puzzles.

    More A-F: “The Night they drove ol’ Dixie down”–Joan Baez
    “Where have all the flowers gone?” Joni Mitchell
    “Tin Soldiers” CSNY or maybe just Neil Young

    Fed: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”–Meat Loaf (think about it! They, ah, come together, make a promise to love until the end of time, and then stay together even though they’re “praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive.” Gotta love it!)

  • Keith says:

    I created a compilation entitled Anti/ Federalist in the style of the Nat’cademy writing project, for those wondering.

    I’ll post each of the playlists in an upcoming entry for those interested. I’ll also send you the CDs if I can find a way to make itunes copy more than 7 of ’em. (I may have to swap-out a song or something, not sure.)

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