” A Big Bad Beautiful” shows The Godfathers making political commentary

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” A Big Bad Beautiful” might be The Godfathers’ first new album in several years, but they should be considered relevant for their “Birth, School, Work, Death”-era music, too. A new tour including a free concert in Belgium will support the release.

The title track shows that musically the stylized rock of The Godfathers has evolved, but the band has not lost its brash approach to telling it like it is.

“Birth, School, Work, Death” and “‘Cause I Said So” by The Godfathers

Arguably, The Godfathers could be said to be the best-dressed band in alternative and college rock radio in the late 1980s. Songs like “Birth, School, Work, Death” and “‘Cause I Said So” put the band on the US Billboard charts and gave listeners a way to sing/shout along to songs that were at turns fatalistic or simply arrogant.

The songs are characterized by an angry guitar motif, punk rock drums, and vocals that are almost shouted. They had a way of making the futility of everyday life a bit more bearable because they sang what some people were feeling, and often said it more succinctly.

While life in the late 1980s was different from life now, The Godfathers still have something to say about that.

“A Big Bad Beautiful” by The Godfathers

The video comes with a warning that it contains flashing images. The set up of the video is that the frame is a television, and current events of protests and bombings and other unpleasant realities are interspersed with shots of the band. The soundscape is nearly pure rock ‘n’ roll with a healthy dose of punk. There is even a guitar solo. The drumming is as fast and hard as ever. The gravel-voiced vocals inform listeners that the protests against what is going on constitutes a big, bad beautiful noise, and that they were good things.

The Godfathers is one of those bands that might have been at risk for fading away in more politically correct times. That they did not is good to know. It seems however, that the band is focusing its attention on Europe for touring purposes, and few popular music websites are paying attention to band’s releases and touring schedules. Which is too bad, really. The Godfathers were always a bit different in exciting and unapologetic ways. If being more popular means that they have to change that, then becoming more popular shouldn’t be the goal.

That The Godfathers is still around makes the popular music landscape a bit more interesting. Their work on “A Big, Bad Beautiful” is a rather shocking reminder that they have been under the radar far too long.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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