Songs Of The Day 4/30/2016: Tim Robbins – 6 from “Bob Roberts”

Been thinking a lot about Bob Roberts lately. I haven't seen this 1992 movie in circulation very much. It was a mockumentary about a 1990 senatorial campaign in Pennsylvania featuring the titular millionaire, right-wing candidate (Tim Robbins, who also directed) squaring off against the longtime incumbent Democrat, played by author Gore Vidal. Alan Rickman, moment of silence, plays Roberts' operative, and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring from Breaking Bad) plays an activist who knows way too much. It goes where you expect it to go, mainly, with conspiracies, cover-up allegations and dirty tricks. A very young Jack Black has a bit role as a crazed Roberts super-fan.

But what made Bob Roberts so special was its musical angle. Roberts spreads his message through his other career as a singer/songwriter whose main hook is literally aping and counter-programming against Bob Dylan's '60s albums. You see the covers to albums called The Freewheelin' Bob Roberts, Times Are Changing Back and my personal favorite, Bob On Bob. Performances are scattered throughout the film, many with Americana performer Kelly Willis playing a wholesome duet partner in songs like "Drugs Stink." The reason the music of Bob Roberts isn't as well-known is because Robbins refused to issue a soundtrack album, on the logical basis that he didn't want anybody to mistake songs like "Complain," "Wall Street Rap" or "Retake America" as something other than satire. They're that faithful.

Being aware of the high entertainment value of the 2016 Presidential elections, especially if you like dystopian nightmares, I pieced together six songs from Bob Roberts into one YouTube playlist. Remember to vote.

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