If sitting in the sukkah is meant to bring us back to nature and allow us to look at our civilized routine life with a fresh perspective, then the musician who most represents the holiday spirit this year is not Israeli or even Jewish.
Oliver Anthony lives in a small trailer on a farm in Virginia with his pregnant wife and two daughters, and is of interest not only to musicians like me but to tens of millions of fans around the world. This is because from his isolated gesture he provides Western culture as a whole with a new, critical and refreshing look at itself. While there are those who run to Americans and implore them at the "Don't give up on us" demonstrations, Oliver Anthony — the first musician in history to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his first song ever sent to him — tells America that she gave up on her sons and daughters long ago.
For example, Anthony attacks obesity in the United States in one verse from his huge hit "Rich men north of Richmond": "If you're sixty-two feet tall and weigh one hundred thirty-five / Don't milk your welfare / My taxes don't have to pay for the chocolate cookies in your basket." The free translation is, of course, mine, but the refreshing anti-politically correct spirit, which turns out, according to the meteoric success of the song, which many around the world have been waiting for, is Anthony's.
Anthony turned down an $8 million management contract, saying, "I don't want to spit out my songs in stadiums every weekend." Instead, he went up to play for free at the farmers' market in Barco, North Carolina
Not only in content, but also in form, Oliver Anthony corrects American culture precisely with the correction for which Sukkot was intended, that is, returns it to its foundations, nature and humanity. He doesn't have a musical production, he just lets the songs work: he plays his songs on guitar only and records them in one microphone while sitting in the woods surrounded by his dogs (who sometimes get into the recording as well). Compare this to the artificial pop brands with polished productions, such as Madonna, which the US exported to the world in recent decades, and you will understand that a brave, reasoned and insanely popular counterculture has arisen here, which opposes all the ills of the modern screen and social media era: the artificiality, alienation, inauthenticity, the mouth-watering of political correctness, and according to Anthony's interviews at the time, also against polarization.
Not only us, but also the United States is experiencing political polarization in the age of social media, unprecedented since the Civil War. It is very possible that part of what we are going through in Israel also stems from the copying of this trend in academia, the media, and culture, and it is good to know that a leading voice has arisen in American culture that opposes this phenomenon and does not automatically add its voice in anger to the "right" chorus. You know, maybe we'll emulate that one day, too.
Anthony turned down an $8 million management contract, saying, "I don't want to spit out my songs in stadiums every weekend." Instead, he went up to play for free at the farmers' market in Barco, North Carolina. Before taking the stage, he read Psalm chapter <>: "Do not compete with the shepherds; Don't be jealous, make an offering. For like hay, they will soon circumcise; And as a grass vegetable, a crop."
Hay, grass and humanity. This is the gospel of Sukkot and also the hottest gospel in contemporary American music. Who knows? Maybe soon here too...
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