Song of the Day #107 – Michael Penn

Today’s video features a new song called The Count of Pennsylvania (lyrics below) from talented singer/songwriter Michael Penn. This song has the feel of a stirring political anthem, in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, but with a twist – it’s about fabricated political movements that capitalize on fear and hatred (“a mob is a democracy that buys a rope and picks a tree”). What do you think Michael is referring to in the repeated refrain “get in on the landslide”?. That line makes me think about how we all clamored for change in the Obama election and then, only two years later, voted for another, entirely opposite, kind of change. As a nation, we seem less interested in real reform and more interested in “getting in on the landslide”.

The Count of Pennsylvania by Michael Penn

the Count of Pennsylvania never left the Commonwealth
he loiters in the alley like a shadow of his former self
cast against the brick and mortar, smoke, and pipes, and stacks
one more for the list-makers, a statistician’s artifact
a victim of amphetamines, of cogs, and things that let off steam
of markets, and of cold machines, that left him in-between
with customers and soldiers to divide

but it’s rising like a high tide,
stretching out so far and wide
the line is long but what a ride!
get in on the landslide

the Count of Pennsylvania traded in his overcoat
heaven’s on the avenue inside a flask of antidote
to a cankered constitution, pettiness, and bile
better never give a shit…you’ll sleep it off, it might take a while
but rolling up from underneath through amber waves of corn and wheat
and cracks appearing in the street and in everyone you meet
think about it baby, look outside

’cause it’s rising up, a high tide
stretching out so far and wide
the line is long but what a ride
get in on the landslide

the Count of Pennsylvania takes a look around the room
you get who’s in the neighborhood, you’ve talked this over, I presume
a mob is a democracy that buys a rope and picks a tree
and clamors with a clamory and thinks that makes them free
forgive them, father, for they don’t have a clue

but they’re rising up, a high tide
stretching out so far and wide
the line is long but what a ride
get in on the landslide

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