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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Sunday, July 5, 2015

Terrell's Tune-Up: Singles' club

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Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 5:00 am

Usually in this column I write about new or at least recent albums. But this week I’m going to try something different and write about a bunch of new — or at least recent — songs.

▼ “Drone Operator” by Jon Langford & Skull Orchard. For centuries, going back at least as far as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” there have been anti-war protest songs written about the warriors themselves, portraying scared and lonesome soldiers barely hanging on in the hellish environment that is war. But Langford’s tune, from his latest album, Here Be Monsters, is a different kind of war protest, which makes sense, because it’s a different kind of war, with a different kind of warrior. The drone campaigns in all the various theaters in this “war on terror” are designed to, as Langford sings, “Stem the flow of body bags the politicians find so hard to explain.” As the narrator (and title character) explains, “I’m not really a soldier. I’m more likely to die/By car wreck or cancer/Or that eye in the sky.” No, he’s not dodging bullets or improvised explosive devices. He’s just another guy at the office, complaining about the traffic on the way to work, drinking coffee, and having a beer and watching some basketball with his co-workers when the workday’s done. “Yeah, I’m a drone operator. I am part of the team/While I study my monitor, wipe some dust from the screen.” Of course, things don’t always go smoothly: “It didn’t look like a wedding. It really wasn’t my call.”

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