Is there any place for protest these days? Probably not and there’s absolutely no money in it as the price of freedom is exactly what you are prepared to pay for it. David Rovics therefore is less of a protest singer – you can’t really be one of those when idealism has rotted like so many fruits on the tree of optimism – than an angry man ranting at the fallacies that surround all of us.
The usual targets get it once more with imperialist hypocrisy, unsurprisingly, duly slapped in “Israeli Geography 101”. The tone is thus set early and, as you might imagine, David Rovics is not going to run out of targets to eloquently dispatch any time soon.
Oddly enough, and I suppose this was probably intended to be ironic, he walks away from political subjects on a couple of occasions and squeezes in some standard singer songwriter I’m the subject of some terrible injustice songs too – now I’m being ironic – with “Steal This MP3” and “Why Don’t They Play You On The Radio” seemingly motivated by an unrequited desire for fame and fortune.
However, on one song he gets it just right mixing politics and emotion in a manner that would satisfy both Phil Ochs and Harry Chapin. That song is “He Called Me Dad” and it is worth the price of admission alone. It resonates like no other song on this album and is exactly the kind of song that would bring him fame.
David Rovics has his heart and mind in the right place. That much is clear even if his album is about as enjoyable as reading The Guardian.