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Middle Of The Road By The Pretenders

Learning To Crawl

1984 | Rock

Spotify | Amazon

β€œIn the middle of the road you see the darnedest things, like fat guys driving 'round in jeeps through the city, wearing big diamond rings and silk suits. β€” Past corrugated tin shacks full up with kids. β€” Oh man I don't mean a Hampstead nursery. β€” When you own a big chunk of the bloody third world, the babies just come with the scenery.

Trivia

  • The song hit #19 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart & #2 on the Mainstream Rock Chart.
  • According to Hynde "Middle of the Road" refers to Tao Te Ching and the middle path.,
  • Despite a reference aging her self at thirty three in the song Hynde actually turned 32 shortly before it's release.

THE HOT TAKES

Luke Tatum

Hey man, don't go dropping bombs on my street. There's perhaps some abstract irony with the libertarian "What about the roads" jokes we've all seen and shared, but that seems to be just out of reach for my mental irony-o-meter. What's going on with this song, anyway? It sounds like it's playing with the "middle of the road" idiom by talking about being a political moderate. The average, agreeable, middle ground in politics somehow still includes bombing people. It still involves controlling the middle east and other third-world countries. It still includes collateral damage, like childred killed by the bombs. I really wish there were more verses to this one, beacuse I feel like there's a lot more that can be done with the metaphor. Fun little song, that I would have never given much of a second thought if not for this project.

Sherry Voluntary

Art is about interpretation right? I don't know about the Tao Te Ching, but I do have an understanding of the general phases of life. To me this song give the perspective of someone who is no longer a wide eyed youth with grandios dreams, and not yet an older person looking back at the majority of their life with nostalgia. No, this person is in the early parts of middle age, with kids and responsibilities. Being middle aged myself, I feel that I am better equipped to see the injustices of the world, and what I might actually be able to do to change my little corner of the world. leaving it better for my kids than I found it.

Also, knowing a little about Chrissie Hynde and her politics, I know that this is written as a cynical critique of capitalism. This is the exact view that many have of capitalism: rich people dividing up the world to exploit the people and resources all in the name of greed. Of course, those of us who have chosen the philipsohy that puts capitalism as part of it's central values, do not agree that that is capitalism. I would hope that every AnCap would find exploitation abhorrent. Of course, what most anti-capitalists call capitalism is actually the gnarled and contorted, Chrony-Capitalism. It is the mixing of corporate or monied interests and State power. Together it makes a dastardly system that actually prevents the best parts of the free market, and uses State Power through taxes, regulation, licencees, and law, to actually keep the poor from being able to compete, while equipping monied interests to curry that same State Power. I imagine everyone reading this is familiar with that or learning about it. When you step back and take a look at what so many mispercieve as Capitalism, can you really blame them for abhorring it? Granted their solutions, actually play into that corrupt State system, but their reaction to it is correct. I feel that it's my job as someone who has come to love the free market to reach out to those folks and try to help them see that the people they are most concerned about, the poor and marginalized, are so much better off if the free market is allowed to operate without interference. I think this is where we can find a starting place with them, that we find suppression of people and their exploitations abhorrent as well, but true free market solutions actually help the most people have the most control over their own lives.

Nicky P

Smiles for everyone so long as they don't try to drag her bay or drop a bomb on her street...in other words agress against her? There is a bit of abstract imagery in this one but I think the song is about looking out at the world around you with perspective that you didn't have as a child. Hynde specifically references her kid and that certainly for me was a great...kick toward taking things seriously and paying attention for myself. What was I willing to fight for what requires me to aggress back? These might seem like simple, easy to figure out issues but when you swallow the black and yellow pill at the same time, the answers become far more complicated. I'm not sure there is is anything particularly libertarian other than that one line but we can run with that little bit.

Created By
Nicky P
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