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Thread: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    I don't think it's jingoistic to be proud of one's country and consider freedom preferable to life behind the iron curtain.

    That said, the sweater line makes me cringe, too.

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  2. #52
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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    I think the fact that Glenn praises some rather hollow things (burgers and fries) - and things that can be found anywhere (like beautiful girls) - makes it a bit Newmanesque. He keeps telling how great the U.S.A. is. Then comes this:

    We got the burgers and fries in the U.S.A.
    We got the friendly skies in the U.S.A.
    We got the beautiful girls in the U.S.A.
    Got the beautiful curls in the U.S.A.

    We're drivin' beautiful cars in the U.S.A.
    We're diggin' movie stars in the U.S.A.
    We get to make romance in the U.S.A.
    Let the little girl dance in the U.S.A.


    Very Newmanesque, although I understand that Glenn was serious.

    Reminds me a bit of Randy's Roll With The Punches and, of course, I Love LA, which Freypower mentioned. Something like I Love LA was what I meant when I said "a joke song, but not without affection underneath". I'm sure Randy does have a soft spot for LA.
    Last edited by chaim; 02-07-2015 at 04:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    They can't be serious. Why else would the comparisons be so superficial? It just isn't clever enough. I usually skip it.

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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    Quote Originally Posted by UndertheWire View Post
    They can't be serious. Why else would the comparisons be so superficial? It just isn't clever enough. I usually skip it.
    I don't really agree that they are superficial. They are symbols of a way of life. When I hear 'burgers and fries', my mind goes to a group of teens at a drive-in or the local Rallys or Checkers. It's burgers, it's milkshakes, and it's big cars and loud music. Of course 'the friendly skies' is a reference to the United commercials we were bombarded with at the time that always showed happy, successful people traveling for business or pleasure, with families or alone, always happy happy happy. The rest of the lyrics Chaim put, refer back to the scene I painted above. Pretty girls and tough guys, and they talked about the things that were important to them all while seeking out the one they want some romance with.

    I guess that's the picture my mind painted the first time I heard the lyrics because of the 50's kind of beat to the song. This is, after all, a song you can do the 'twist' to and there aren't that many of those. To me, it's always called up visions of movies about the 50's, like Grease. I guess that's why I feel the way I do about it.
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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    If there's stuff in the song that only Americans get (I didn't have a clue what "the friendly skies" refers to), I think Glenn and Jack could've done the lyric better. If you try to convince "the enemy" about the greatness of your country compared to theirs, I think you should say things they understand! If there's stuff only your own people get, you're actually saying it to them IMO.

    This error makes it even more Randy Newmanesque IMO.

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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    I can't believe how much I've been thinking of this song in the last day. My instinctive reaction is a kind of alarm/dislike because of its simplistic patriotism. It fits into the "ignorant american" category which is surprising because I don't see either Glenn or Jack as being ignorant.

    Rather than a mythical 50s, I think of the 1980s when it was released and that's a time when there was a lot of anti-american feeling in the UK. It was a scary time with high inflation, high unemployment, an increase in racism and a fear of a nuclear war started by a foreign power.

    "burgers and fries" - MacDonalds arrived here in the late 70s. I was taken to my first one in 1979 when they were rare but by the end of the decade there was one on every high street.

    "friendly skies" - Reagan and his Strategic Defence Initiaive (known as "Star Wars" in the media), an infamous leaflet called "Protect and Survive" about how to survive a nuclear attack, protests against the installation of american nuclear missiles on british soils. And the man with his finger on the button was an elderly movie actor.

    "beautiful cars" - after the fuel shortages and rising fuel prices of the 70s, americans were still driving round in gas-guzzlers and paying a much lower price than we were.

    "beautiful girls" - everyone on american tv shows was beautiful. What about us regular folk?

    But after all that, I'm sure nearly all of us would have chosen the USA over Russia and still would.

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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    Quote Originally Posted by UndertheWire View Post
    I can't believe how much I've been thinking of this song in the last day. My instinctive reaction is a kind of alarm/dislike because of its simplistic patriotism. It fits into the "ignorant american" category which is surprising because I don't see either Glenn or Jack as being ignorant.

    Rather than a mythical 50s, I think of the 1980s when it was released and that's a time when there was a lot of anti-american feeling in the UK. It was a scary time with high inflation, high unemployment, an increase in racism and a fear of a nuclear war started by a foreign power.

    "burgers and fries" - MacDonalds arrived here in the late 70s. I was taken to my first one in 1979 when they were rare but by the end of the decade there was one on every high street.

    "friendly skies" - Reagan and his Strategic Defence Initiaive (known as "Star Wars" in the media), an infamous leaflet called "Protect and Survive" about how to survive a nuclear attack, protests against the installation of american nuclear missiles on british soils. And the man with his finger on the button was an elderly movie actor.

    "beautiful cars" - after the fuel shortages and rising fuel prices of the 70s, americans were still driving round in gas-guzzlers and paying a much lower price than we were.

    "beautiful girls" - everyone on american tv shows was beautiful. What about us regular folk?

    But after all that, I'm sure nearly all of us would have chosen the USA over Russia and still would.
    Wow, the difference in perspective is amazing! IMO, the lyrics weren't targeted towards the enemy, but rather a reminder to Americans of the things we take for granted.

    I remember at the songwriter's lecture back in 2011, Glenn talked about painting a picture with words as well as the feel of the song, then went on to say that an intro went a long way towards doing that. I wonder what he would think about the difference between the picture in your head as opposed to the picture in mine? Anyway, it's this kind of diversity that makes the world go round and keeps this board interesting!
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  8. #58
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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    Isn't it interesting! I'm sure your images are more in line with their intentions but I wanted to show a different perspective. I'd be cringing over a song telling me it's "Better in the UK", too (even though I believe this is a good place to live).

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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    I'd second that, UnderTheWire.

    The Blue Jeans and Rock'n'Roll and Burgers and Fries lines may appear shallow but they were actually very desirable products in pre-perestroika and glasnost Russia.

    I'm not all that upset by the Jingoism at all. It's the insulting references to the 3rd World, whatever Glenn thinks that is, the Muscovites and eastern European people in general.

    In 1991 Leningrad returned to it's former name, Saint Petersburg.

    Better In The USA could only be written by somebody who has succumbed to anti Russian propaganda

    If I was a girl, maybe the last bit would make me want to slap Glenn across the face too

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    Default Re: Celebration of "The Allnighter"

    Quote Originally Posted by Funk 50 View Post
    I'd second that, UnderTheWire.

    The Blue Jeans and Rock'n'Roll and Burgers and Fries lines may appear shallow but they were actually very desirable products in pre-perestroika and glasnost Russia.

    I'm not all that upset by the Jingoism at all. It's the insulting references to the 3rd World, whatever Glenn thinks that is, the Muscovites and eastern European people in general.

    In 1991 Leningrad returned to it's former name, Saint Petersburg.

    Better In The USA could only be written by somebody who has succumbed to anti Russian propaganda

    If I was a girl, maybe the last bit would make me want to slap Glenn across the face too
    He is saying the Third World is what we now call the developing world, which was supposed to choose between capitalism & communism. He isn't saying Russia is the Third World.

    The line about the lack of nightlife in Leningrad (as it then was, to be fair to Glenn) annoys me because it is so cliched & ignores the rich history of opera & classical music in the city. Russian culture is very different from American culture.

    As for 'they'd be movin' here from Moscow (I object to his pronunciation of it although I know many Americans pronounce it this way) perhaps. However, Russians are patriotic too. Russians loved their children too, to quote Sting.

    Please note; I am NOT defending Communism & I know how hard it was for Russians & Eastern Europeans before the system collapsed.

    Listen to Billy Joel's Leningrad if you wish to hear a more mature perspective on how an American changed his perspective on Russia.

    But then there is the 'nobody's perfect' part. This is the most confusing part of the song, especially 'you can move to the left/you can move to the right/you can stand in the dark/you can stand in the light'. Given that Glenn is a Democrat I presume this is just referring to communism vs capitalism, given that non-Americans associate the 'right' in America with the Republican Party.

    In any case the Eagles played there in 2001. I have a wonderful photo of them outside St Basil's Cathedral. I have often wondered what they thought of it.

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