How Could We Allow Something Like This Without Pumping Our Fists?

Sure, sure, we can debate about whether Battlestar Galactica or 24 best exemplifies the Bush era, but can we all agree that Lorraine Ali is crazy in calling American Idiot the defining album of the period? I mean, c’mon. Not only is it a pretty lazy choice, but it’s a bad album. When a record’s only halfway decent track is a note-for-note rip-off of “Wonderwall”, it’s not exactly a great accomplishment.

Indeed, here are five albums and ten songs that better exemplify the era than AI. Leave your own in comments.


  • Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne
  • Arular, M.I.A.
  • Game Theory, The Roots
  • One Beat, Sleater-Kinney
  • Apologies to the Queen Mary, Wolf Parade


  • “Intervention”, Arcade Fire
  • “He War”, Cat Power
  • “Mosh”, Eminem
  • “Two Words”, Kanye West
  • “Monster Hospital”, Metric
  • “M.I.A”, M.I.A.
  • “One Beat”, Sleater-Kinney
  • “The Modern Age”, The Strokes
  • “Jesus Etc.”, Wilco
  • “I’ll Believe in Anything”, Wolf Parade
  • 3 thoughts on “How Could We Allow Something Like This Without Pumping Our Fists?

    1. The Body, The Blood, The Machine, The Thermals
      I refer to “Power Doesn’t Run On Nothing”, as the Cheney theme song. Catchy hooks, smart and biting lyrics, the entire album is pop-punk done right. Unlike Idiot.
      “Here’s Your Future”, The Thermals
      And BSG is the best Bush era show, particularly the Pegasus story arc in season two. Caine even has a standing desk like Rumsfeld!

    2. I certainly agree with you on American Idiot, although I think Lorraine Ali deliberately chose an album that was legitimately part of pop culture, such as it is. And one could argue that in the Bush era pop culture is more political than it has been for three decades: where in the Clinton era Michael Jordan reminded us that “Republicans buy sneakers, too”, today Steve Nash and LeBron James wear their liberal views on their sleeve. American Idiot, despite its aesthetic shortcomings, could be seen as the most obvious representation of this trend in pop music.
      As for albums that are better artistic evocations of the era:
      Arular, while a great album, is almost defiantly apolitical, its only message contained in the opening song- “get yourself an education”. I also think that Arulpragasam’s Jaffna Tamil roots and London residence disqualify her- the most American of recent presidents needs an American album. Of those that you nominated, The Carter III and One Beat are certainly appropriate choices, although I’d add to that list Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Neon Bible, Modern Times and even the College Dropout. It was criminal, not merely remiss, of you to leave out “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country” in the songs list.

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