3541. “Barracuda” by Heart

Fan video:

“Barracuda” is quite correctly considered Heart’s signature song. The guitar riff that opens the song is another instantly recognizable 70’s classic.

But I want to write about how the song was used at the 2008 Republican National Convention to introduce Sarah Palin.

Putting aside politics, this is a dreadful song to use as a theme song if you’re running for office. I mean, its a great song, but what does Anne Wilson’s lyric have to say about the titular Barracuda?

If the real thing don’t do the trick
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn it out to the wick
Aren’t you, Barracuda?

Basically, the character she’s singing about is a liar who makes stuff up because the truth isn’t going to get him what he wants. This is a song you would choose as a political theme song? First, you’re opening yourself up to easy attacks from people like me who know the song lyrics. Second, if your supporters don’t recognize that the song is totally inappropriate, they sort of look like idiots, too.

Not really listening to the lyrics of songs is hardly exclusively the realm of career politicians. For years, the stalker anthem “Every Breath You Take” was treated like a love song. A choreographer in town used Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” to set a piece on middle school students, ignoring that the song is a celebration of cunnilingus and crystal meth. Politicians, however, have staffs that are supposed to prevent them from doing stupid things. Indeed, I suspect that staff members typically think “Hey, ‘Soul Sister’ by Train would be perfect for Michelle Bachmann” but don’t listen closely enough to the lyrics to realize its about anonymous sex at Burning Man.

There are a number of interesting articles about campaigns that selected inappropriate songs and why that might actually benefit them. Fine, if you want to make a political point about how liberals aren’t ‘merican enough to let you use their song, but jeez make sure the lyrics suit your campaign.

Selecting “Barracuda” also put all of the members of Heart in the spotlight, where they were only too happy to disavow Palin’s use of the song and, in the case of a couple of former members, publicly endorse Obama. I’m not saying that’s why he won in 2008, but it surely couldn’t have helped McCain.

Back on topic, Heart rocks.


3541. “Barracuda” by Heart — 3 Comments

  1. This song was written as a response their first record label and some of the crap he was pulling the led to them canceling their contract and going with a different label. They were getting fleeced and the ex-label tried to release their second album after the contract was torn up.

  2. Yeah – I was reading the in the midst of that, he took out an add in Variety with a picture of the cover of Steamboat Annie with a suggestive phrase that led some people to think that Ann and Nancy were lovers and that finally set Ann off. People screw with the wrong people sometimes.

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