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James Otto – Soldiers & Jesus (Warner Brothers)

October 27th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s a solemn and well delivered performance and now the label has released a much more manageable edit. Originally, it clocked in at close to five minutes, a log time to be sitting through a dirge. Now it’s right at 3:45. I’m more apt to recommend it for airplay now, but gotta say I won’t be early on it. My problem is the underlying message reinforcing the fantasy that our guys and gals in the Middle East are fighting and dying for our “freedom”. This, I’m sorry to say, is half-witted repetition of bullshit corporate propaganda. The last time our soldiers actually did fight for our freedoms was in WWII.

Records like this, and that gawd-awful Darryl Worley thing bother me to no end. The Worley song was war-mongering, pure and simple. This one, equating the death of Jesus for our souls with the death of soldiers for oil and corporate profits is just flat out wrong. Jesus would in no way approve of what our political leaders have been forcing our soldiers to do.

I do not doubt that the writer and the singer mean well. I’m sure they believe it. But I’m also sure they want to make a buck. And, I know a goodly portion of our core listenership may well enjoy hearing this message that comforts them, reaffirming the beliefs they hold. Therein lies my conflict. I’ve always striven to give listeners what they wanted. All our careers are built on that foundation. I’ve always wanted to give my children things they wanted, too, but only up to a point. A little junk food, I’d tolerate. But no cookies for breakfast. “Soldiers & Jesus” is patriotic junk food. I’ve got to decide whether I want to let them have this one serving or be the righteous parent and just say no.

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