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My Country II

Dan Bern

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Album Review

Folkie Dan Bern subtitling his My Country II "Music to beat Bush by" places him firmly to the left in the debate surrounding the 2004 presidential election. But Bern is a strong songwriter, and he emphasizes My Country II's music over its message. He's definitely not a fan of 43, but there's more on Bern's mind than regime change. Dylan meets Costello in the bashed-out sonics of "Tyranny," and the track's world-weariness comes from issues larger than one administration. Likewise, "After the Parade" is an everysoldier's lament, suggestive of Eric Bogle's powerfully sad "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda." These tracks are certainly relevant to My Country's central theme. But they make the album about more than just one man, even if Bern saves his real ire for Mr. Bush. "President" is a funny folk ramble personifying W's first 100 days, while the title track takes issue with conservatives' demonizing of dissenting opinion. Best might be the decidedly unsubtle "Bush Must Be Defeated." His acoustic guitar twining over downcast electronic percussion, Bern rhymes about 4,000 things with the word "defeated," and they're all bad for the President. Example: "Bush must be defeated/His goodbye coffee heated/His White House bed short-sheeted/The imposer excreted." For those who share Bern's sentiment, My Country II will be a rallying cry. But it's also a testament to his skill as a singer and songwriter that the album stays the course, offering music, and not just message.

Customer Reviews

Misfire on All Levels

I used to be a huge Dan Bern fan, but this CD is horrible. His attempt at political protest misses the mark completely. I'm not opposed to getting political, but at least make your lyrics poetic and interesting. Bern's lyrics could have come from any liberal politician, any moveon.org'er or any liberal blogger. There is just no creativity going on here, tuneless songs, and no inspiring hooks. Dan Bern started getting very bad when he stopped writing lyrics and started trying to write punchlines and now he is just way too literal and simplistic. Its just America-bashing at its finest.

Wake Up!

After the Parade and Sammy's Bat are fabulous looks at the past and the future through rhyme and music.

Not his finest...

I'm a big Dan Bern fan and have seen him in concert a few times. BUT anytime you try to voice a political opinion, half of the people are going to love it and the other half are going to hate it. I personally love folk music with a message but Dan doesn't hit the mark here. Songs with a message work when they encourage the listener to stop and "listen". Most of this album is just a collection of catchy melodies and recycled messages that we have heard a million times. The real gem here is "After the Parade" about how we support our wounded veterans. The message really hit home after former President Bush dropped a lot of veteran funding. The song is done very well and sicks out, which isn't easy in-between "Bush Must Be Defeated" and "President" which are way too literally.

Biography

Born: July 27, 1965 in Mount Vernon, IA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

With the release of his 1997 self-titled debut, Iowa native Dan Bern became the latest, following the likes of John Prine, Elliott Murphy, Steve Forbert, Loudon Wainwright III, and numerous others, to wear the "new Dylan" mantle. With an acoustic guitar, a batch of sharp, witty, insightful songs, and a delivery reminiscent of the man himself, Bern left his home in the Midwest for L.A., where he assaulted the local folk scene. He subsequently made his way to various clubs and festivals nationwide,...
Full Bio
My Country II, Dan Bern
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