‘Songs To Get Vaccinated To’ and other musical missteps

The wait to be vaccinated can be a stressful time, so what better way to get in the mood for that jab than by listening to several hours of music lovingly compiled by a (fairly) senior British Conservative!

Oliver Dowden, the U.K. culture secretary, has put together a Spotify playlist called “Songs To Get Vaccinated To” — and it’s a mixed bag.

Dowden has made an effort in places, including some songs loosely related to vaccines/lockdown/a gradual return to freedom. His list opens with “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar; there’s a song by The Vaccines; there’s “The Cure” by Lady Gaga (but, sadly, nothing by The Cure); and “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz.

Others don’t work quite so well: “Jump Around” by House of Pain can presumably only be listened to after the requisite 15-minute wait following vaccination; “Jump In The Line” by Harry Belafonte could encourage queue jumping, which is extremely un-British; “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode sounds like having more than the required two jabs; and “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake suggests lingering COVID-19 symptoms.

Yet more songs appear to be a rather desperate attempt to heap praise on the vaccination strategy of Boris Johnson’s government: “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” by Hall & Oates; “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan; and, with crushing inevitability, “We Are The Champions” by Queen.

The playlist also contains “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, which at least suggests Dowden isn’t trying to be cool.

That isn’t always the case with British politicians. Former Prime Minister David Cameron said he liked The Smiths so often that guitarist Johnny Marr wrote on Twitter: “Stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it.” Cameron has never commented publicly on a track by Smiths frontman Morrissey — who himself has now moved firmly to the far right politically — called “Margaret On The Guillotine,” which imagines the execution of Margaret Thatcher.

Another former prime minister, Gordon Brown, was fooling no one when he claimed to be a big Arctic Monkeys fan — but couldn’t name a song by them.

Then there’s the current resident of 10 Downing Street. Johnson — a man who can be described in many ways, with “punk” not being among them — claims to be a fan of The Clash and picked their cover of Toots and the Maytals’ classic “Pressure Drop” when he appeared on BBC radio’s “Desert Island Discs” show back in 2005.

As for Dowden, he isn’t popular with many musicians after tweeting earlier this month: “Delighted that our new trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will allow musicians, performers and support crews to tour easily there.”

Musicians and performers were quick to point out that those three countries aren’t exactly big potential markets and they’d much rather have unfettered access to the EU market as they had before Brexit.

Mat Osman, bassist with the band Suede, wrote on Twitter: “Ah yes. The classic Norway/Iceland/Liechtenstein tour. Utterly pathetic.”

Geoff Barrow of Portishead was more succinct, describing Dowden as an “arse hat.”



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