As much as I hate to admit it, Ben Shapiro has a point with his list of overrated songs although his fogyish pose is tiresome. It even reminds me a bit of something I wrote a few years ago. He’s correct that songs like “My Generation” by The Who, and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin are overrated even if he errs by not demonstrating how highly rated they are in the first place. And I agree that John Lennon’s “Imagine” isn’t only overrated, it’s terrible. Of course, for Shapiro, the worst part is Lennon’s Liberal Bias. “This could be the Barack Obama campaign song – but it would express too clearly what the redistributionist left wants for the world: no borders, no God, no meaning, no values, and no wealth. And it’s being penned and sung by one of the richest people on the planet.”
He’s on shakier ground discussing Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” The post I linked to above was prompted Rolling Stone magazine’s faux authoritative list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time that has “Like a Rolling Stone” in first place. I would rate any number of Dylan songs (“Tangled Up In Blue,” “Gotta Serve Somebody”) as better, even if “Stone” is, um, a milestone.
Shapiro clearly doesn’t just think “Like a Rolling Stone” is overrated, he hates it: “The song itself makes no sense. What is a ‘mystery tramp’? Why should you ‘turn around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns’? Are they sad clowns? What does a ‘Siamese cat, have to do with anything? And then he articulates these nonsensical lyrics as though he has no front teeth.”
He can’t handle the fact that a lot of Dylan’s best songs don’t make much sense and in Breitbartworld everything is reducible to politics. “I’m sorry, but screaming “How does it feel?” with an organ in the background is not great music. That’s Jeremiah Wright on an off-day.” Now, how exactly did we get on to Reverend Wright?
One theme that he comes back to on more than one occasion is his struggle to avoid becoming a guru or generational spokesman, such as when he was awarded a honorary degree from Princeton: “When my turn came to accept the degree, the speaker introducing me said something like how I distinguished myself in carminibus canendi and that I now would enjoy all the university’s individual rights and privileges whereever they pertain, but then he added, ‘Though he is known to millions, he shuns publicity and organizations preferring the solidarity of his family and isolation from the world, and though he is approaching the perilous age of thirty, he remains the authentic expression of the disturbed and concerned conscience of Young America.’ Oh Sweet Jesus! It was like a jolt. I shuddered and trembled but remained expressionless. The disturbed conscience of Young America!”