Contemporary songs about the Cold War?
May 7, 2012 2:34 AM   Subscribe

There have been questions about Cold War songs from the '80s (1, 2, 3). What about songs about the Cold War from the 2000s?

A friend and I, both born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, were talking about the cultural legacy of the Cold War, and that inspired me to start making a mix tape for him with contemporary songs about it. Obviously there a lot of songs written during the Cold War about the Cold War, but I'm curious about how the symbols of the Cold War--the space race, US/Soviet spies and foreign policy, nuclear threat--have been repurposed in songs written after the Cold War's end.

For example, both Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #2 (Laika) and Wolf Parade - Yulia use Soviet space imagery with varying directness to convey isolation; the spy background of The Decemberists - The Bagman's Gambit lends extra glamour; who knows what Destroyer - Bay of Pigs is about, but supposedly it was inspired by a vision of Jackie Kennedy, drunk off her ass. What other fairly recent songs use Cold War imagery?

Obviously my taste runs to "insufferable indie," but please give me anything! This friend especially likes electro/pop/new wave. I'm not really looking for political songs for this mix, but I'd still be curious to hear them.
posted by flawsekno to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well...there's Janelle Monae's "Cold War", although I don't think the specific imagery you're looking for extends too far beyond the title. Great song, though!
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 2:43 AM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Josh Ritter Temptation of Adam
posted by backwards guitar at 2:46 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hm, I made my wife a pretty enjoyable playlist of random interesting songs about her home state just by searching iTunes for relevant place names. In this case, searching for names like Gagarin, Gorbachev, Brezhnev, etc. immediately turns up possibilities. No guarantees about quality, but if you're really in the mood to take a blind spin ...
posted by Monsieur Caution at 2:51 AM on May 7, 2012

Two New Wave from the 80's that are tragically absent from the other lists:

Elvis Costello

Oliver's Army

Green Shirt:

Somewhere in the Quisling Clinic there's a short term typist taking seconds over minutes.
She's listening in to the Venus Line, she's picking out names, I hope none of them are mine.

One of my all time favorite lyrics. Oliver's Army is the same level of very clever double meanings.
posted by effluvia at 7:31 AM on May 7, 2012

Cold War, by Funker Vogt.

English translation of lyrics.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:25 AM on May 7, 2012

The Rakes - Strasbourg
posted by the foreground at 12:28 PM on May 7, 2012

Probably anything from Beirut's Gulag Orkestar album
posted by Sara C. at 2:22 PM on May 7, 2012

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