Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Identity Songs

The world (well, the U.S. at least) is in the midst of an identity crisis. What’s unique about this particular identity crisis, though, is that rather than “who am I” this one finds many of us lobbing “this is who you are” at each other like underinflated dodgeballs.

Don’t misunderstand: America has always been a fan of line drawing–liberal/conservative, industrial/agricultural, north/south, east/west, blue collar/white collar, with us/against us. What seems different this time around is this immense pressure to conform to a single set of opinions, interests, and beliefs as if that prepackaged identity is my identity. But the truth is that mutants walk among us–liberal gun owners, conservative pro-choice advocates, devoutly Christian scientists, country music-loving college professors.

And here’s an even more profound truth: These folks aren’t mutants, not in the least. In fact, we all have some like/interest/opinion/belief that conflicts with the ill-fitting culture war t-shirt we’ve been forced into. Identities are hard won beasties, developed over years of introspection and discovery. They can’t be purchased wholecloth simply by embracing a cable news network or a social media posture. Nor can you thrust a complete identity upon a stranger based upon an opinion or comment. Those are costumes, not identities.

Anyway, identity songs:

“The Real Me,” The Who.

“Who Can I Be Now?” David Bowie.

“Identity,” X-Ray Spex.

“You Know Who You are?” Nine Inch Nails.

“Who’s Behind the Door?” Zebra.

“Who Is Tyler Durden?” The Dust Brothers.

“Who Hangs Behind Your Eyes?” Mercyland.

“Who Are You?” The Who

There you have it: Eight songs about identity. Now go invent yourself. It’s a heck of a lot more fulfilling than being told who you are.

Categories: Deep Cuts

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