The latest blue-collar patriotic hit came from Oliver Anthony and his song “Rich Men North Of Richmond.” His song hit home with many Americans who work hard every day but feel no one is vouching for them. Although when the GOP used it at a debate Anthony felt the need to speak up.
The recently discovered artist said in a video he posted on YouTube, “I do hate that song being weaponized.” He continues, “I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own, and the left trying to discredit me I guess in retaliation.” The lyrics of Anthony’s song touched on a lot of issues going on in the U.S. today.
"I wrote that about those people," Oliver Anthony said of GOP presidential hopefuls in a YouTube video response to a mention of his song at the debate.
"It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news trying to identify with me like I’m one of them." https://t.co/jmPvYzzgia
— NBC4 Washington (@nbcwashington) August 26, 2023
Some of the lyrics included references to homelessness and those who cannot eat in contrast to obese Americans that are milking the welfare system. He also mentions what tax money shouldn’t be going to, working overtime for minimal pay and how these rich men want “total control.”
Another lyric referenced human trafficking: “I wish politicians would look out for miners and not just minors on an island somewhere.” Anthony says he is right in the middle politically. His video response indicates he wants no part in being placed in the back pocket of either political party.
Even with the lyrics that point toward politically fueled issues, Anthony suggests the song isn’t meant to be political. It is supposed to focus on people. He says, “They’ve done everything they can the last two weeks to make me look like a fool, to spin my words, to try to stick me in a political bucket.”
He said the song “has nothing to do with Joe Biden. It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song is written about the people on that stage, and a lot more, too. Not just them, but definitely them.” You can’t blame Anthony for wanting to keep his music neutral. He went viral this month after uploading the video on August 8.
Anthony hints at too much government and rich bureaucrats overlooking the tax-paying and hardworking citizens. Most agree that too many politicians with too much money and power is a bad thing. Any music that discusses hot topics like the ones he chose will be targeted.
Such impactful lyrics touching on economics and corruption could easily be perceived from various points of view. The bigger picture is more than just the left or the right. Republicans are the working-class party, so it’s clear why conservatives could appreciate and relate to this song.
It’s fair for anyone who hears the song to interpret it in their own way. Most people interpret music in their own way without knowing the specifics and details. Music isn’t considered “good” because it’s dissected and explained lyric for lyric.
Music is “good” because it’s relatable. It’s “good” because it makes you feel. Not many of us know Oliver Anthony on a personal level so we won’t know his true intentions concerning his song or his exact political affiliation and that’s okay.