Randy Newman and Pedro the Lion, "Political Science"

I really wanted to drop some Randy Newman jams on KWSS this morning, but alas, time didn't permit.

Newman will be in town this weekend, doing a two-night stand at the Biltmore. If you are only familiar with his soundtrack work -- or know him as simply as the butt of a Family Guy joke -- you're missing out. He's one of the songwriters, as far as I'm concerned, up there with Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Tom Waits, and Sam Cooke.

"Political Science" is one of his best, a jaunty tune that slyly pokes fun at America's reputation abroad. Newman's gallows humor is one of his strongest assets. Much like Haymarket Squares, whom I profiled a few weeks ago, he tackles the big topics (God, politics, murder, and sex), while still retaining the pop sense that makes him good at things like, well, Toy Story soundtracks.

I actually became aware of Newman's oeuvre via a cover. Back in 2004, Pedro the Lion, lead by David Bazan, included a cover of "Political Science" on the band's Tour EP. It was the first time I really listened to Newman beyond his soundtrack hits and "Short People." 

I am terribly excited to catch Newman on Sunday night. I hope "Political Science" makes it into his set.

"Political Science," Randy Newman. From Sail Away, 1972

No one likes us, I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money, but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us, so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All-American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

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