Like everyone else in America, I remember the morning of September 11th, 2001 vividly. Waking up, turning on the television and seeing a gaping hole in the World Trade Center, then watching in horror as another plane flew into the second tower, eliminating any chance that it was an accident. I remember the sadness, the feeling of community that came in the days and weeks following the attack. But what I remember most is the way our then-President used the feelings of hatred and revenge seething through American veins to invade a country needlessly and pass legislation that continues to divide our country.
Because I relate everything to music, I also remember the benefits for the victims families and firefighters. There have been some really great songs written about the event and the aftermath, and some truly awful. Here is my top 5 and bottom 5 of those songs.
1. My City Of Ruin-Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Actually, the entirety of The Rising could be included here. One of my favorite Springsteen albums ever.
2. Let’s Roll-Neil Young: I couldn’t get the video to load for this one, but Young has been so politically active over the years that his writing a song about the heroes of Flight 93 shouldn’t be a surprise.
I actually prefer Young’s later tune, “Let’s Impeach The President,” but this one was great as well.
3. Words I Never Said-Lupe Fiasco: Lupe’s views may not mesh entirely with mine, but this is a great song. His conspiracy theory mindset is a bit off to me, but I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. Maybe it was a conspiracy. The opening line to his first verse is one of my favorites in a rap song: “I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit, just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets”
4. Exodus Damage-John Vanderslice: 9/11 plays a minor role in this song, but when it’s Vanderslice everything matters. It would be a good song without the references, but having them makes it a great one.
5. If This Is Goodbye-Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris: Heartbreaking ballad with some nice guitar work to boot. In a way, this song echoes how the attacks on 9/11 effected everyone around the globe, hence a Brit rock god and a southern songstress come together for this tremendous song.
1. Where Were You-Alan Jackson: Emotionally manipulative garbage. I liked it better when it was about a ladder to Heaven.
2. Courtesy Of The Red White And Blue-Toby Keith: Keith sure does love America…especially all the money he makes from writing songs cashing in on American xenophobia and outrage.
3. Raise Up (USA Remix)-Petey Pablo: And speaking of cashing in…after doing the song, and a remix featuring every state in the US, Petey Pablo tried to make his stacks a little larger by putting out an additional remix just after the attacks.
4. Have You Forgotten-Darryl Worley: “Some say this country’s just out looking for a fight
Well, after 9/11 man I’d have to say that’s right” That lyric kind of perfectly encapsulates the GOP’s mindset for the last decade.
5. Jihad-Slayer: I’ll actually say something nice about Slayer here. It may be a horrendous song, but at least the angle is interesting and it isn’t by Toby Keith.