I ain't passed the bar but i know a little bit
July 9, 2011 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Law-related song suggestions?

My girlfriend is currently studying 20 hours a day for the NY bar and has indicated that a relevant mix might make this more bearable. Thus, I am seeking suggestions for songs that are wholly or partially about legal things, especially if they portray the whole institution as a giant farce (she's a little bitter right now). Songs that examine an unrelated subject via figurative use of legal terminology are also encouraged. Thanks so much!!
posted by granted to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
N.W.A. Fuck Tha Police.
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:51 PM on July 9, 2011

Warren Zevon's Lawyers Guns & Money on Exclitable Boy is also the title of a well-known law blog.
posted by Nomyte at 7:54 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

First, my condolences to your GF on studying for the bar. It sucks. Unequivocally.

In general, I can recommend The Capitol Steps. They do lots of parody - their stuff from the Clinton sex scandal is particularly entertaining. Come to think of it, they may be more appropriate for after she finishes studying to wind down.


Criminal by Fiona Apple
I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley
posted by Leezie at 7:55 PM on July 9, 2011

* I Fought the Law and the Law Won (Bobby Fuller)
* Lawyers, Guns and Money (Warren Zevon)
* Lawyers in Love (Jackson Browne)
posted by Flunkie at 7:56 PM on July 9, 2011

I also pumped myself up with 99 Problems (because of that line) when I was sitting for the NY bar.

Since I'm a man, I also had a lot of Legal Man by Belle & Sebastian. Barely Legal by the Strokes ('cos your GF didn't take no shortcuts).

Prince Buster: Judge Dread.

Beck's SEXX Laws.

Priest's Breaking the Law.

Definitely do NOT put I Fought the Law on the mix. Completely the wrong message for someone studying for the bar.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:58 PM on July 9, 2011

Definitely do NOT put I Fought the Law on the mix. Completely the wrong message for someone studying for the bar.

OK, fine: I Fought the Law and I Won

Smooth Criminal

posted by John Cohen at 7:59 PM on July 9, 2011

The Specials - Stupid Marriage
posted by SomeTrickPony at 8:00 PM on July 9, 2011

Complicated Shadows - Elvis Costello
posted by secret about box at 8:02 PM on July 9, 2011

I Shot the Sheriff, natch. Also Johnny Cash has numerous songs about the law.

Two Gallants' Las Cruces Jail

This might provide some good stuff too.
posted by amoeba syndrome at 8:04 PM on July 9, 2011

"Go call you a lawyer file you a lawsuit / I'll smile in the courtroom" -- Eminem
posted by salvia at 8:12 PM on July 9, 2011

Maybe Warren Zevon, Mr. Bad Example.
posted by dilettante at 8:26 PM on July 9, 2011

Chuck Brodsky, Talk To My Lawyer
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:31 PM on July 9, 2011

"The Truth" by Handsome Boy Modeling School has a sweet rap by J-Live that talks all about legal concepts.
posted by jeffmshaw at 8:34 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don Henley, The Garden of Allah. (Wow, tough to find a good video or lyrics link.) Trust me, the "expert witness" is right up her alley.
posted by SPrintF at 8:36 PM on July 9, 2011

. . .And Justice For All by Metallica -- "Halls of Justice painted green. . ."
posted by mlis at 8:37 PM on July 9, 2011

Somewhere they can't find me - Simon and Garfunkel
Outlaw Heart - Tiger Army
Aginst th' Law - Billy Bragg and Wilco
Alice's Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie
Anatomy of your enemy - Anti-Flag
Clandestino - Manu Chao
The Defense - Bad Religion
posted by iamkimiam at 8:42 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Even the Dog Can Shake Hands-- Warren Zevon
posted by Ideefixe at 8:51 PM on July 9, 2011

David Lindley and El Rayo X - Talk to the Lawyer
Steve Earle - Billy Austin
Chris Whitley - Livin with the Law
posted by timsteil at 8:53 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The New Pornograpers - The Laws Have Changed
Yo La Tengo - The Whole of the Law
The Fiery Furnaces - Philadelphia Grand Jury
posted by hydrophonic at 9:18 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ani Difranco - Hurricane (it's a Bob Dylan song, but I like this version)
posted by wondermouse at 9:24 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

B-52's - Legal Tender (a great song about counterfeiting money)
posted by mynameisluka at 9:33 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chris De Burgh - Patricia the Stripper (about a 1920s burlesque dancer arrested for obscenity who dances at her defense).
posted by zanni at 9:38 PM on July 9, 2011

Sequestered In Memphis - The Hold Steady. Probably the only song with 'subpoenaed' in the chorus.
One For The Cutters - The Hold Steady. More about the court case

Let Him Dangle - Elvis Costello
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol - Bob Dylan
both about miscarriages of justice

Long Black Veil -Johnny Cash? Traditional? A man hangs because he won't admit to betraying his best friend

Mercy Seat - Nick Cave. Song about the death penalty

Maxwell's Silver Hammer - The Beatles. Last verse takes place in a courtroom

Prison Bound - Social Distortion 'I did the crime I'll do the time'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on July 9, 2011

By way of spice, in contrast to the aforementioned:
Dave Frishberg: "My Attorney Bernie"
And pretty much anything from Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial By Jury, for example "The Judge's Song"" (aka "When I, Good Friends, Was Called to the Bar").
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:47 PM on July 9, 2011

X-Cops - You Have The Right To Remain Silent (Album) - A GWAR side project from the mid 90's, a mixed bag of songs depicting law enforcement in a twisted/cartoon-ish light.

Holy Terror - Damned By Judges
Witchfinder General - Death Penalty (song)
Megadeth - Captive Honour
Nuclear Assault - Justice
Wesley Willis - Larry Nevers//Walter Budzyn
posted by Godwin Interjection at 10:09 PM on July 9, 2011

The Streets- The Irony of it All (it's basically about why it's stupid that pot's not legal when alcohol is, the "drunk" guy goes on about how he's a law abiding citizen and I think it's pretty funny.)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 10:16 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Incarcerated by Todd Snider is a great tune.
posted by backwards guitar at 10:39 PM on July 9, 2011

Robbery, Assault, and Battery--Genesis
posted by luckynerd at 10:48 PM on July 9, 2011

Perfect Government - NOFX
posted by salvia at 10:53 PM on July 9, 2011

Better Get a Lawyer the Cruel Sea.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 10:55 PM on July 9, 2011

Showdown -- Propaghandi ("I do not require a case for freedoms of speech / Cause I never asked to be a citizen." "Waking up each morning with confusion in my eyes..." "Tension in the air I cannot bear / so what the fuck am I accomplishing? / Absolutely nothing! / All these words are boring." "Those who see through the lies / are quickly gagged and bound / Ambitions realized. / Tear the whole fucking thing down!")
posted by salvia at 11:02 PM on July 9, 2011

Signed Sealed Delivered Stevie Wonder. (Formal requirement for a deed.)
Fathers Day Weddings Parties Anything. (Child custody/visitation)
Last Will and Testament Eric Clapton
posted by Trivia Newton John at 11:05 PM on July 9, 2011

Johnny Law, William Elliot Whitmore

Swordfishtrombone, Tom Waits (primarily for the lyric "He got twenty years for lovin' her / From some Oklahoma governor")
posted by scody at 11:28 PM on July 9, 2011

"Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago

"Criminal Intent" by Robyn

"I'm Only a Bill" from Schoolhouse Rock

"Smooth Criminal" (you have your choice of artists)
posted by jph at 11:31 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Legalize it
posted by adamvasco at 12:46 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

California Sex Lawyer - Fountains of Wayne
Satan is a Lawyer - Gojira
See My Lawyer - Sunnyland Slim
What Do You Know About Music, You're Not a Lawyer - John Lurie (no lyrics, but great title and music)
Be My Lawyer - ? (soul)
Lawyer Clark Blues - Sleepy John Estes
Lawyer Houston Blues - Lightnin' Hopkins
Lawyer - Fleet Street (this one really deserves a listen)
How Much Can Your Lawyer Charge - Mike Ferry
Mommy is a Lawyer - Kenny Young and the Eggplants
Snoops the Lawyer - Eddie Cantor
Jesus is My Lawyer in Heaven - Gary S. Paxton
Save Yo Story Fo Yo Lawyer - Mister
posted by Paris Elk at 3:06 AM on July 10, 2011

Don't make plans this Friday - Silkworm
Lawman - Motorhead
Law and Order - Stiff Little Fingers
posted by safetyfork at 5:50 AM on July 10, 2011

Sue You Sue Me Blues - George Harrison
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:10 AM on July 10, 2011

Steve Earle - Copperhead Road (not about lawyers, but mentions the DEA and doing illegal things)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:11 AM on July 10, 2011

Fugazi - Dear Justice Letter
posted by Beardman at 7:33 AM on July 10, 2011

If G&S floats her boat, there's a lot. Gilbert was a barrister, after all. In addition to the ones from Trial by Jury,there's the Lord Chancellor's Song from Iolanthe, the first Lord of the Admiralty's Song from The Pirates of Penzance and best of all the Mikado's Song ("My object all sublime ...") from, er, The Mikado. The last one is really about crime and punishment rather than lawyers per se, but is too good not to include. You might notice that Gilbert is pretty savage with his fellow lawyers. You might also note the savage dig at my own slice of the law in The Mikado: "That's the slovenly way these Acts are always drafted" (or words to that effect).
posted by Logophiliac at 8:24 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jerry Butler's I Stand Accused
posted by PaulBGoode at 9:06 AM on July 10, 2011

I'm in the same boat and the last thing I want my mix music to be about is the law! She's studying 20 hours a day??? I feel like crap now.
posted by Sylvia Plath's terrible fish at 9:37 AM on July 10, 2011

'I Fought the Law' is a great suggestion, but you might need the Dead Kennedys version.
posted by box at 12:15 PM on July 10, 2011

How about the soundtrack to Legally Blonde the Musical? It was nominated for Best Original Score at the Tonys the year it came out.

Particularly law-related songs include Blood in the Water (about how law students need to learn to be 'sharks' if they want to succeed) and The Harvard Variations (three pompous law students singing about how they got in to Harvard).

Particularly motivational (and still kind of law-related) songs include What You Want (Elle's plan to get into Harvard, including taking her LSATs and convincing the admissions panel to let her in), Chip On My Shoulder (Emmet convinces Elle to sacrifice free time and holidays to study, because it'll be worth it in the end) and So Much Better (Elle is selected for a highly competitive intern position and sings about how amazing she feels and how the study and sacrifices were all worthwhile, and made her into a better person).
posted by lovedbymarylane at 12:24 AM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: She's studying 20 hours a day??? I feel like crap now.

Oh no! Definite hyperbole on my part. (It is, however, the amount of time she would have to be studying before she might believe that she is going to pass. Which she will. As will you.)

Thanks so much for all your suggestions - the mix is in the works!!
posted by granted at 12:56 PM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

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