A Rich Kid is Born in England! Here Are 5 Anti-Royal Songs to Celebrate With
As you may have noticed over the last few days, every news station in the country seems to be laboring under the assumption that we give a shit about a disgustingly wealthy child being born in England. We know the idea is that he'll be the future King of the U.K. and all that, but Prince Charles is 64 years old and he's still waiting to be King because his mother is trying to beat Queen Victoria's longest-reigning-Queen record. By the time we get through his reign and Prince William's reign, that baby is going to be about 75.
Still, since our regular TV schedules keep getting interrupted with footage of a hospital door and a wide variety of royal traditionalist nonsense, we thought it only fair to counter the sycophantic newscasts with some lovely, anti-British-monarchy songs. Since you already know about "God Save The Queen" by the Sex Pistols and "The Queen Is Dead" by the Smiths, we decided instead to focus on some lesser known tracks that do just as good of a job at calling out the pomp and privilege of Britain's Royal Family.
"We Her Majesty's Prisoners," Manic Street Preachers
The dudes in Manic Street Preachers are all Welsh -- meaning their nation remains colonized by the English to this day -- so it's not a huge surprise that they're not massive fans of the monarchy. In addition to 1991's fiercely anti-Royal "Repeat (Stars and Stripes)" (sample lyric: "Repeat after me/ Fuck Queen and country"), the quartet also released "We Her Majesty's Prisoners" as a B-side that same year. Lyrics here include: "England's glory lives on in worldwide genocide/ So celebrate Buchenwald as Her Majesty's heir" and "Treason is ambition, I want dead procession." Ouch.
"Elizabeth My Dear," Stone Roses
Taken from the band's self-titled 1989 debut, "Elizabeth My Dear" takes the music from traditional British ballad "Scarborough Fair" (Scarborough is a town in the North of England) and turns it into a twisted and scathing critique of Queen Elizabeth II: "Tear me apart and boil my bones/ I'll not rest 'til she's lost her throne." That gory stuff at the beginning is in reference to prisoners being hung, drawn and quartered for treason, during the Middle Ages -- and yes, that did literally involve being torn apart and having your guts thrown on a fire. History is fun!
"Take Down The Union Jack," Billy Bragg
Rowdy Cockney leftist and protest aficionado Billy Bragg is better at putting down his own country than anyone else on Earth. "Britain isn't cool you know," he sings here, "It's really not that great." Then he gets to the absurdity of the Queen still knighting people on an annual basis: "Is this the 19th Century that I'm watching on T.V.?/ The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs/ Member of the British Empire -- that doesn't sound too good to me." Don't expect a knighthood anytime soon, Billy!
"Storm The Palace," Catatonia
Oh, look! It's another Welsh band! Does anyone else see a pattern forming here? "Storm the palace," the band commands repeatedly on this track, "Turn it into flats, make them all ex-pats." Our personal favorite line though, is "Turn it into a bar, make them work in Spar." For those of you who have never been to the the U.K. before, Spar is basically a nationwide chain of really, really low-budget convenience stores. Think 7-Eleven, but 10 times more grim.
"Farewell to the Crown," Chumbawamba
At one point in the 1990s, it was literally impossible to go to a protest march anywhere in the entirety of Britain without Chumbawamba showing up and performing (whether people wanted them to or not). They were angry about literally everything. Here, they borrow the music from an ancient sea shanty ("What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor") and turn it into a jaunty plea for the abolition of the English monarchy. "Goodbye to the Royal we/ And all its famous pedigree/ Let's put this dog to sleep/ Goodbye to the Crown". Subtlety never was Chumbawamba's strong suit.