Friday, August 31, 2012

Digging Deeper Into Paul Ryan's iPod Playlist: From AC/DC to Zeppelin and Beyond

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 6:03 AM


Art and life co-habitate, informing, imitating, and enriching each other constantly. Each week in Better Living Through Music, RFT Music writer Ryan Wasoba explores this symbiotic relationship.

When Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, he poked fun at Mitt Romney's old-guy music tastes and said "My playlist starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin." I immediately thought the following things:

1. The obvious discrepancy: Paul Ryan picked those two acts because of their alphabetical breadth. Yet, wouldn't Zeppelin be categorized under L for Led Zeppelin? Would that not imply that his rock stops in the early/mid L's?

2. Why Zeppelin and not ZZ Top? Again, going with alphabetics, this is the best choice. Other than the short-lived and not very good defunct Chicago bands ZZZZZs (which I believe had a member or two of Sweep The Leg Johnny, but I, in the honor of today's political climate, will not let fact checking rule my life), ZZ Top is the definitive last band in the list. And since most people view the alphabet in linear terms, shouldn't Paul Ryan be embracing ZZ Top to appeal to the far right?

3. Ryan could have chosen an artist earlier in the alphabet than AC/DC, but it was a smart choice. AC/DC certainly rocks harder than ABBA and Aaliyah. If there is one reason for Paul Ryan not to choose ABBA, it is because the band's music has been embraced by the gay community. Many websites have ranked "Dancing Queen" the "gayest song of all time." Nobody puts AC/DC in the category of "gay" music, even though its lead guitarist dresses like a schoolboy, the band played gay bars in its early days, and its name is - coincidentally, its members claim - also a term for bisexuality.

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