6 songs for Columbus Day

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What does Columbus Day mean, exactly? 

Gimme Noise would argue that in celebrating this historically significant-yet-marginalized holiday - it's on your calender, but only Federal employees and select school children get a day off for it - you're not so much celebrating Christopher Columbus stumbling upon the country most of us call home, but rather toasting the spirit of discovery itself. 

In this spirit, we encourage you to enjoy these six songs about and inspired by Mssr 1492 - and hope you have a happy and fulfilling Columbus Day, regardless of whether you have the day off. If you don't, why don't you just call in sick? Do something you've been unable to do, see a movie, call your mom, start that macrame photo blog you've been procrastinating, go hang gliding - do something. Get away from the computer. It'll be good for your soul.


1.
Crass, "Where Next Columbus?"


Thought-provoking and invigorating, but maybe not the best way to contribute to your middle-schooler's "Hooray for Christopher Columbus Day!" edutainment extravaganza.

(Apropos of nothing much, if you haven't seen this yet, you really probably should, like, today; never stops being awesome. Think of it as a little present from us to you.)

2. Suzanne Vega, "World Before Columbus"


Only tangentially about Christopher Columbus; see, Columbus and the line of demarcation that he represents are used here as part of an overreaching metaphorical construct that, really, isn't especially interesting, Suzanne Vega making some point about how in love she is with some dude. But it's all gravy because it's a blessing and a privilege to be able to listen to Vega sing, with freon womanly cool, about anything,

3. Madonna, "Like A Virgin"


Charting new territories, exploring unknown lands, conquering God-less natives, et al. Madonna is forever for the children, of course, but I'm starting to thing that at some point some of these fucking songs need to be magneto-wiped from the world's hard drive once and for all.

4. Cliff Eidelman, "Theme from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country"

Isn't it depressing, somehow, to even think about the whole Star Trek ethos now? When the shows and movies were out there for the general public to feast our collective imagination on, we could envision the very real possibility of traveling to different solar systems and colonizing distant planets and wearing ridiculous one-piece uniforms and fondling wicked cool sleek gadgets. But NASA's basically castrated now because we're too broke as a country to keep questing, and inevitably the future of space travel - like almost everything else - is destined to be on the corporate dime. Anyway, this is still a great, hopeful score, for real.

5. Brad Kane & Lea Salonga, "A Whole New World"

Well, yeah, the obviousness quotient is pretty high here, though I'm sure nobody was whisking Columbus around on any flying carpets when he washed up on this shores 500+ years ago.

6. Burning Spear, "Christopher Columbus"


I wonder sometimes whether our esteemed, possibly-blunted iconic reggae/calypso/dub brethren are aware that it's difficult for a great many of us to take their political disaffection seriously, given how the Jamaican patios is so slippery and lulling, the grooves themselves so disarmingly seductive. Seriously, this song could be about disemboweling feral cats in graphic, disturbing detail and I would still be able to zone out to it.


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