“I Wonder” (Rodriguez)

Without this song—the one often sung by South African White friends as an un-national anthem during apartheid—without this song, no ancient cults of Sixto Rodriguez. It’s his one underground hit record (though never a single), and it is a tower of weird. Opening peregrinating bassline says we’re on the streets, checking out the entrance to her apartment while vaguely musing about soldiers, class, and race. If the revolution is a kind of romantic love (Warren Beatty’s Reds, for example), then its first wonderments are like a bad breakup’s hangover: obsessing over her sleeping habits, running through her list of awful friends. In relation to the State of Apartheid, were even its children of privilege like spurned lovers?


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“Cliffs of Dover” (Eric Johnson)

The celebration of instrumental technique and the materiality of militaristic force to reinscribe the flexible (chalky, murder outline-like) contours of the nation. Driving backbeat propels dazzling arpeggios, intermittent two-hand tapping and, at end, the soaring higher octave reprise of chorus riff. Patriotism, or the consolidation of enforced populations, is only a byproduct of the seduction of community (through self-generation). D-days, then, are inherently premeditated due to continual need for national unity. Loving nature.


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