Over the course of 28 days, three dudes in Northern California did all 42 past U.S. presidents.
With large doses of insanity suspectedly involved, songwriters Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken, and Jefferson Pitcher self-produced and recorded 14 songs a piece, each number based on the tenure of an American president.
Completed as part of February Album Writing Month, this particular project is deserving of wider recognition, especially at a time when our current president is actively re-classifying historical records in an effort to manipulate his own legacy. The trio intends to salute the Commander with a final song for the project, tentatively slated for proper release in late 2006.
Audio files and complete liner notes including lyrics for each track are available for free here. None of these are little ditties — they are complete songs and run as long as seven minutes. The lyrics and melody in Kiefer’s “Eisenhower (When Ike Walked the Land)” put the listener quite literally in the landscape of suburbanization and black and white TV:
We made a fence / painted it white / made the kids all fear God / and Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll / sold lots of radios.
Jeff Pitcher’s rich ode to the demise of President William Henry Harrison could bring someone to tears, if only they weren’t aware that he is widely regarded as maybe THE worst president in history, or had they not at least read Pitcher’s extensive commentary in the notes:
William Henry Harrison was an incredibly horrible and atrocious piece of shit… who was ultimately responsible for a big portion of the genocide of native americans….
The cut cuts deep.
Warren G. Harding may have been in and out before his first term was up, but as Matt Gerken explains in verse, we can thank him for establishing the chronyist corporatocracy we know so well:
The cabinet was a board room / Business leaders / Hobby policymakers / Protecting their interests / Making sure life is harder / For the rest of us / Just like today
I don’t post about music as much as I’d like, but once I downloaded the tracks and listened, I was pretty floored. Not since unwrapping the most recent gift of historical manifestations from Surfjan Stevens had I remembered that the dullest of stories could be brought to light in bright melodies.
Kudos, gentlemen for the incredible feat of not only writing one song for each of our 42 past presidents, but for creating AND laying down the tracks all within the course of our shortest month! Readers — check it out, this is far and away the best history lesson out there since Jon Stewart’s America.
Track 43 may prove to be epic… I can’t wait.