F2K No. 28: Xiu Xiu, “Support Our Troops OH (Black Angels OH)”


F2K is a countdown of the 50 worst songs of the decade. Track our progress here.

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First, let’s play fair: I love me some Xiu Xiu. Their six-album run from 2002’s Knife Play to 2008’s Women As Lovers is one of the strongest, most unfuckwithable bursts of any band in the entire decade–avant-indie at its most rubbed-raw, forward-thinking, exploratory, provocative. This is why writing about “Support Our Troops OH” is so difficult. It’s like when your uncle says something completely racist at the dinner table and you have to explain to your date that, uh, he’s actually a swell guy when he’s not being backed up by five bottles of Bartles & Jaymes.

The wars in Iraq and Afganistan gave musicians a right to be even more stupid and reactionary than usual. I for one cannot wait to explain to my kids just why Future Governor Conor Oberst (R-Nebraska) wrote something as ridiculous as “When The President Talks To God.” But Xiu Xiu’s take on the war, displayed in typically coarse manner on 2004’s otherwise extraordinary Fabulous Muscles, was just ridiculous. It completely walks out of the realm of “Our president sure is a dickface lizard person” and into “You guys should really join my Ron Paul rally that my World Of Warcraft avatar is holding at noon.”

The lyrics speak for themselves:

Did you know you were going to shoot
Off the top of a four year old girl’s head
And look across her car-seat down into her skull
And see into her throat and did you know
That her dad would say to you,
“Please sir, can I take her body home?”

This part is actually a refreshing change of pace from the whole “not in our name” sloganeering of the time: a noise-rock interpretation of the photos and stories the mainstream media had been suppressing, the ugly truth that missed the New York Times‘ front page but wasn’t ignored in the stories American troops told to the hypothetical psychiatrists our health care system wouldn’t provide them.

But then Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart turns into an asshole version of David Cross and delivers his whopping punchline via Weapons Of Mass Smugness.

Oh wait, you totally did know… that that would happen
Cause you’re a jock who was too stupid and too greedy
And too unmotivated to do anything else but still be
The biggest and still do what other people tell you to do
You did it to still be a winner

Then there’s some Harry Partch noise and various squealing doodads, followed by the kicker:

You shot your grenade launcher into peoples windows and
Into the doors of peoples houses just to see them blow up.
Why should I care if you get killed?

Git ‘er done, amirite? Someone as clearly enlightened as Stewart confronts the war with the myopic entitlement of an 11th grader who just got shoved in a locker. Clearly the only reason that people join the military is because they’re all just jock bonehead football asshole prickface jerkmos. Certainly not because our country leaves few other options for people on the lower tiers of the economic ladder, and not because swarms of recruiters offer “enlistment bonuses” to high school students who don’t see a lot of options for themselves, and not because it offers a full-time job in a country that’s always struggled with high unemployment rates, and not because military service in simply a proud tradition in some people’s families, and not because we live in a society that promotes the military’s ideals, and not because some people have criminal troubles and join the army to turn their life around, and not because other people just want to find that asshole Bin Laden and wring his neck, and not because sometimes you just join the army and it’s no fucking business of some dude in Oakland tapping on a gamelan. Congratulations, dude, you just reduced the entire military-industrial complex to a Trenchcoat Mafia diatribe of “All jocks are assholes, wah!”

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