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The 5 Spot

5/18/23: The 5 Spot

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Do you ever forget to tune in to The 5 Spot? Or maybe you have to go into a dumb store or answer a dumb phone call while Grayson is still spinning his themed tunes. How are you gonna know what songs he played? How are you going to know what the theme was? We finally have your solution. After The 5 Spot airs, we will update you with a quick recap of what was played and why.

Today, Grayson played songs that serve as critiques of America as requested by listener David.

No offense is intended toward the land of the free and the home of the brave- but as Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” If America is not critiqued is it really the land of the free?

So here are the five songs Grayson played today that offer a playful critique of the U.S.A.

5) “Drive” by R.E.M. – “Drive” was written as a wake-up call, telling young folks to take control of their lives rather than being complacent. Frontman Michael Stipe was also critical of President George H. W. Bush, and had run ads in college newspapers during the 1988 election using the term “Bushwacked,” a term repeated in “Drive.” Incidentally, “Drive” came out just two months before the election cycle in which Bill Clinton was elected after running against the incumbent George H.W. Bush.

4) “American Idiot” by Green Day – Some people may not realize that the album American Idiot is a concept album. It tells the story of “Jesus of Suburbia,” a young, poor anti-hero who is disillusioned by the post-9/11 world. “American Idiot” kicks off the album, setting the tone and introducing the mindset of “Jesus of Suburbia.” But the song came from a very real place for frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. Armstrong was sick of the 24-hour news cycle and the coverage of the Iraq war. To top things off, he heard the song “That’s How I Like It” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and felt compelled to respond to the song he interpreted as being okay with the status quo.

3) “So American” by Portugal. The Man – Portugal frontman John Gourley was inspired to write “So American” after conversing with a German man who was very versed in American politics, while Gourley found himself knowing almost nothing about German politics. Gourley felt it was an unfortunate American trait to be unconcerned with world affairs.

2) “North American Scum” by LCD Soundsystem – “North American Scum” is almost more of a defense of America than a critique. It’s about the rest of the world’s perception of Americans. When it comes down to it though, frontman James Murphy is upset about the reputation America has in the world. See LCD Soundsystem during the Re:SET Concert Series this summer.

1) “I’m Afraid of Americans” by David Bowie – The only non-American artist on today’s 5 Spot, David Bowie wrote this song as a critique of the American obsession with capitalism and homogony. When talking about the song, Bowie spoke of his disgust with huge American companies popping up around the world and stifling local cultures.

BONUS TRACK: “United States of Whatever” by Liam Lynch – “United States of Whatever” is a comedy song originally improvised by Lynch. It’s a little more positive than the others!

AND HEY- Make sure that next time, you tune in to The 5 Spot with Grayson Kelly at 5 pm on Columbus’ favorite alternative station, CD 92.9 FM!

Got a 5 Spot request or suggestion? Send them to

Written by: Emma Sedam

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