Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Aretha Sang the Wrong Song

Sure, the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States marks a shining moment in our nation's history, both as a gleaming reaffirmation of American democracy and as the end of the deplorable Bush Administration. But as proud, pleased, and hopeful as I could be in viewing President Obama's inauguration ceremony, I found myself disappointed that Aretha Franklin sang such a predictable and stuffy ballad as "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Patriotic though it be, the tune has no groove, nothing worthy of the Queen of Soul.

I would have been much more impressed had Ms. Franklin sung her 1968 hit, "Think," which she recreated so brilliantly in The Blues Brothers. Imagine the inspiration and respect America would regain had Aretha belted out "You better think (think, think) what you're tryin' to do to me" while President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden danced and clapped à la Jake and Elwood and First Lady Michelle and her two daughters provided backing vocals. Sure, space was tight on the rostrum, but the Secret Service could have cleared out the Bushes and the Cheneys a few minutes early. And with former president Bill Clinton providing Blue Lou Marini's saxophone solo from the facade above the stage, America would again be the hippest nation on Earth.

Especially at song's end, as Aretha angrily gestures the President-Elect to take the oath with, "Well, go ahead, dammit!"

Oh freedom (freedom)...freedom (freedom)...freedom (freedom)...yeah, freedom...

By the way, I was also disappointed that Jerky Boy Johnny Brennan wasn't chosen to administer the Presidential Oath of Office...

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