Friday, July 06, 2012

That's Athientertainment!

If Christian and religious music is a niche market, the pro-science/atheist music scene is practically microscopic. I bought a few CDs recently that are for sale from outlets like the Center For Inquiry and The Freedom From Religion Foundation.  Yep, they have gift shops, too.  Good timing: now that the Higgs Boson particle has been found, our ideas of physics (The Standard Model) have been confirmed, which means we pretty much know what the universe is made out of.  Pat yourself on the back, human race!

Dr. Stephen Baird of Stanford University is an actual scientist, as well as being the frontman for The Opposums Of Truth and The Galapagos Mountain Boys.  I generally find his style of music - hillbilly/bluegrass - kinda irritating, what with all them high screechy voices and plinckety-plunkety banjos and fiddles and whatnot.  But, somewhat to my surprise, I started diggin' these albums ("Darwin, Darn It!" and "Ain't Gonna Be No Judgement Day: Scientific Gospel") after a couple spins. Really well played, and it's always funny hearing technical jargon sung with enthusiasm.

The Voices Of Reason are a Los Angeles a capella vocal group, here covering/rewriting "The Hallelujah Chorus" and the old "Negro" spiritual "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho." I saw 'em open for Julia Sweeney's show "Letting Go of God" a few years ago.

And here's some songs from previous posts that have since gone off-line:

Anthropologist Richard Milner: "Charles Darwin: Live and In Concert" is channeling the great naturalist thu witty, upbeat original songs with rapid-fire rhymes that would give eminem a run for his money. I hear the likes of Noel Coward, Cole Porter and his admitted heroes GIlbert & Sullivan.

Dan Barker is an atheist satirical songwriter, like a one-topic Randy Newman or Warren Zevon. He's released several albums, including "Beware of Dogma."  It features "My God is in My Soul," a brilliant track by Michael Newdow, the guy who tried to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance (who has a pretty interesting CD himself). It includes samples of profane voice mail messages left by furious Christians. They're not just dropped onto music, but are ingeniously integrated into the lyrics of the mock-reverent "hymn." The result walks that hilarious/disturbing line. "Fleas" is a parody of Joyce Kilmer's poem about how I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree, blah blah blah.

Baba Brinkman (a Canadian, eh!) first appeared in these pages with his rap version of The Canterbury Tales. His album "The Rap Guide To Evolution," (available from his site) is, well, just that. It's scientifically accurate, musically solid, even funny sometimes. But dealing with biological complexities can make the songs amazingly wordy, e.g.: the finely funky song posted, set at a dinner table as our hero tries to reason with a stubbornly unscientific family. I'm certainly aware of the large number of religious creationists out there, but the feminist who says gender has no basis in science threw me for a loop. Are there still people who think like that? I thought that was a relic of '70s hippie-dom.

"A Brief History of Rhyme: MC Hawking's Greatest Hits": Stephen Hawking: brilliant physicist, considered the heir to Newton and Einstein; crippled by Lou Gehrig's disease, he speaks thru a voice synthesizer. MC Hawking: his hard-core hip-hip alter ego. So someone gets ahold of the type of voice synthesizer Dr. Hawking uses and records a buncha profanity-laden rap songs. About science. Sounds like it might be funny for maybe 30 seconds, right? Guess again Einstein, this is genius - whoever is behind this knows both his science AND his hip-hop. The debut album "A Brief History Of Rhyme" is dripping with tunes both hilarious and (I hate to say it) even sorta educational..Funny, righteous, boomin' beats. "Entropy" is a parody of Naughty By Nature's "OPP" (with another dig at Creationism thrown in), "What We Need More of is Science" peels New Age kooks' caps back, and "UFT For The MC" is The Sex Pistols' "Anarchy In The UK" with new lyrics reflecting the Hawkman's quest for a Unified Field Theory. The real Stephen Hawking is aware of this project and has given it his blessing.

Athientertainment: a MusicForManiacs mix

(After clicking the above link, scroll down for a choice of downloading options. You may have to wait a few secs.)
1. The Galapagos Mountain Boys - Walk Down In The Water
2. The Voices Of Reason - The Evolution Chorus

3. Richard Milner - Darwins Nightmare
4. Dan Barker - Fleas
5. Dr. Stephen Baird And The Opposums Of Truth - Randomness Is Good Enough For Me
6. MC Hawking - Fuck the Creationists
7. Baba Brinkman - Creationist Cousins 2.0
8. Dan Barker - My God is in My Soul
9. The Voices Of Reason - Battle 'Tween Church And State
10. Richard Milner - Why Didn't I?
11. Dr. Stephen Baird And The Opposums Of Truth - I Have Seen Evolution With My Own Two Eyes


Anonymous said...

here is another great song

Mr Fab said...

Good tune! The 'Golden Retriever' line made me laff.