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Lists: The five best songs about oil spills

By Allison Stewart

National crises used to prompt an almost instantaneous outpouring of great songs, like "Ohio," or "A Change Is Gonna Come." But, protest music not being what it used to be, it could take years, if ever, before any indelible songs emerge from the Gulf Coast crisis.

In the meantime, Click Track decided to hunt down the greatest songs about oil spills, past and present. You might be surprised: There weren't that many.

Our parameters: No really sad amateur YouTube videos where folks sing about the crisis while playing the ukulele, accompanied by footage of dead pelicans. People are suffering enough.

Also not okay: boilerplate indictments of wars for oil, which pretty much excludes Rage Against the Machine, and anything involving Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings."

The Top Five:

1. Pearl Jam: "Don't Go/BP Amoco"
This one pre-dates the spill. Imagine how mad they are now.

(Mos Def, Marvin and more, after the jump.)

2. Mos Def: "It Ain't My Fault"

The only song on the list written expressly about the spill.

3. September Malevolence: "Exxon Valdez"

The lyrics are so indecipherable, we're not sure exactly what the Swedish metal band is singing about; we're kind of hoping it's oil-spill related.

4. Marvin Gaye: "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"

An all-purpose environmental classic, more depressing than ever.

5. Steve Forbert: "The Oil Song"

An extended history of oil mishaps, with a new ending verse about the Gulf spill.

By Allison Stewart  |  June 11, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Lists  | Tags: Marvin Gaye, Mos Def, Pearl Jam, September Malevolence, Steve Forbert  
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Skinny Puppy's "Hexonxonx" is theoretically about Exxon Valdez, too.

Posted by: misere | June 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Good one! John Fahey's "The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick" also got left off the list, only because I couldn't find it anywhere.

Posted by: Allison Stewart | June 11, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Hate to plug my own music in, but this NW Washingtonian says "Oil Is Blood" written/recorded 2002, released as video 2008. This song is the audible oil painting of reaching too far for oil. Too far into the water, too far into the ground and too far into other lands. Heavy, electric, progressive, from mellow to crying operatic tones as if it were already August and the well was still going. It is a real horror of an event we find ourselves in, in 2010. Honestly I'm a little freaked out by the song.

Posted by: AnfoMerc | June 13, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

how do i get in contact with the writer allison stewart?

-q x 3rd.

Posted by: qx3rd | June 14, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

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