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Song Stories

“Tunic (Song for Karen)”

Sonic Youth | 1990

"Tunic (Song for Karen)" was Sonic Youth's tribute to and elegy for Karen Carpenter, who died from complications related to anorexia. Kim Gordon sang on the track, which described the Carpenters lead singer as saying goodbye to Hollywood, and hello to other dead rock stars like Elvis and Janis Joplin. Thurston Moore wasn't a fan of the Carpenters, but he was intrigued by the subject matter. "Oh, it was crap music," he said, "but was also extremely interesting … They were white bread, middle-class people, and Karen was somebody who was supposed to be perfect. It was a heavy slice of Americana, like the Walton family."

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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