As the first time I bought a "songs and artists that inspired" collection, I kind of wondered how it would go. It's not exactly a soundtrack album, yet is supposed to have some thematic ties to a certain film. In the case of music that inspired Fahrenheit 9/11, the themes deal with the freedoms people should be born with but which are suppressed, anti-war, and the poor soldier who becomes bullet fodder because he has to serve. Most of the songs have been previously released, the sole exception being ex-Rage Against the Machine lead singer Zack de la Rocha's metal-core "We Want It All"
My favourite song here was originally on Voice of America, by Little Steven, late of the E Street Band. "I Am A Patriot" is not a right-wing song, but here, he emphasizes freedom as being the most important thing, especially from political parties. After saying he's no capitalist, communist, Democrat, Republican, imperialist, he says he belongs to one party-freedom, freedom enhanced by a partying reggae beat.
Steven's bandmate Bruce Springsteen comes next with his live cover of Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom," originally on his 1988 EP of the same name.
The man Dylan himself comes with the seven minute opus "With God On Our Side," an ironic commentary on how many nations wrap them with god's name in war. Most striking is how the Germans were forgiven after killing 6 million. But hey, it's okay, because they now have god on their side. A similar folky sad harmonica-laced number is "No One Left" by the Nightwatchman, Tom Morello's band, which bewails tragedies that befell those who lost loved ones (Americans in New York and Iraqis in Baghdad.) Dylan's influence is finally felt in Pearl Jam's grungy live cover of "Masters of War," which must go down as the only song where Dylan wished someone would die.
System of a Down's "Boom," from Steal This Album! is an angry polemic against consumerism, manufacturing consent, child poverty, bombs killing civilians, with thudding bass mixed with spoken monologue, before the churning metal core chorus: "Boom boom boom boom! every time you drop a bomb, you kill the god your child has born."
"It ain't me! It ain't me! I ain't no fortunate son," wails John Fogerty in the CCR standard "Fortunate Son." In F 9/11, the fortunate sons are those in Congress, of which all but one don't have their children serving in the military, as demonstrated when Michael Moore tries to get Congressmen to get their children to enlist. Also on the soldier line is the Dixie Chicks' forlorn "Travelin' Soldier," from their Home album, of a poor guy who makes friends with a girl, and where she is the only one who grieves for him when he dies in Vietnam.
Not many people know their rights, point out the Clash in the hardcore rock/reggae jam/public service announcement with guitar. "Know Your Rights" from Combat Rock, which include the right not to be killed, the right to food money, and the most important of all, the right to free speech, "as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."
Things kind of slow down for impact beginning with "Where Is The Love" by the Black Eyed Peas, only to be resurrected by Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" from Grace. The mentality of the right-wing people of the murder machine may be summed up thus: "Well, maybe there's a god above/But all I've ever learned from love/Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you."
A worthy thematic album from one of the most thought-provoking and political documentaries of all-time. The mixture of older and newer artists work well, with the inclusion of Dylan song and covers emphasizing that he's the king of protest rock.