A JC-Pop Sampler: Your Guide to Jeremy Corbyn Fan Music

Jeremy Corbyn
Britain's Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Glasgow, Scotland, August 25, 2016. Russell Cheyne/Reuters

In an impassioned moment at a recent leadership campaign rally, Jeremy Corbyn urged the crowd to discover their inner artist. There was, he said, a poet, a painting or a novel hiding in everyone's heart.

Newsweek reserves comment on that claim. But one thing's for sure, a trawl of YouTube shows that a lot of Corbyn supporters have a quirky parody song just begging to burst out of them.

The surge in grassroots activism in support of the Labour leader has done more than simply getting people to his rallies; it's got people grabbing their guitars, mimicking The Smiths and, in one memorable case, constructing an unintentionally terrifying Corbyn mask out of duct tape.

What's it like? Well, here's a bespoke sampler of JC-Pop, a bold genre for the new political age:

Sam Harrison: "I Feel Like Jeremy Corbyn (Song for JC)"

What is it? The track that first alerted me to the burgeoning Corbynite music scene when it was shared by a Financial Times journalist, this chirpy, two-minute slice of guitar pop features the actual lines: "I march in the CND parade and I feel like Jeremy Corbyn/Buy my groceries from Fairtrade and I feel like Jeremy Corbyn." The singer has a range of other similarly bouncy fare that isn't about Jeremy Corbyn on his channel, and also a rather creepy poem about wolves.

Verdict: Its unabashed earnestness (I defy your heart to remain totally hard as the sub-Beatles harmonies whistle through the lines: "I believe in single mothers/I believe in wooly jumpers") mean I'm loath to tear into it.
A two-minute JC-pop banger with lots of Momentum—three beards out of five.

The Owen Smiths: "Heaven Knows I'm Radical Now"

What is it? See what they did? As you can guess from the title, this is a reworking of The Smiths' mope-pop classic "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," not-so-subtly skewering Corbyn challenger Owen Smith's tendency to try to ape the incumbent leader's left-wing credentials. The mysterious author, who has yet to reply to Newsweek's queries as to their identity, also makes music under a range of other pro-Corbyn parody aliases (for example: PLP, a Parliamentary Labour Party themed version of Pulp).

Verdict: Lightness of touch is not The Owen Smiths' strong point (sample lyric: "In my life/Why did I spend much of my time/Championing big pharma incentives and PFI?"). I suspect the over-done Welsh accent might be a tad offensive too, though I don't have a Welsh person nearby to check. Feel free to let me know in the comments. That said, the photoshopping is quite funny.
Still waiting for a great leap forwards—two beards out of five.

Laura Green: "All That's Left (The Jeremy Corbyn Song)"

What is it? Rude! So rude I really hope Jeremy Corbyn hasn't listened to it because he'd either be a bit sad and embarrassed or secretly pleased and either way it would be very awkward. A ukulele-scored paean to the hirsute heart-throb, the song's best moment sees Green implore to camera:

"Let's spend a beautiful candlelit night
Underneath the stars discussing women's rights
We might touch on arts funding or the cabinet, you pick
Then before you know it I'm touching your… heart"

Verdict: This song is funny, and only the most humorless Blairite would say otherwise.
Four beards out of five.

Stop The War: "Jeremy Corbyn vs Trident Nuclear Ships of Shame"

What is it? Bit different this; the anti-Trident ballad "Ships of Shame" by long-running singer songwriter Steve Ashley, has been bolted onto a separate Corbyn speech by Jez allies Stop the War Coalition. But I've included it because you can't have a lefty song roundup without some po-faced folk. This is a classic in the "I can't believe it's not 1960s" vein. It even has close harmony singers intoning "down, down, down derry down" at one stage.

Verdict: The song is not terrible, though it is about as long and turgid as your average CND rally speech. But I'm uncomfortable with it being co-opted to the Corbyn cause. It's a noble tradition in British political folk music to be as irrelevant as possible, and such faddishness threatens to bring it to a dangerously large audience.
Nice strings, shame about the speech—two beards out of five.

Corbyn 2016: "My Shot (parody)"

What is it? Despite the name, the account is not an official Corbyn outlet. It is the account of a man (I think?) whose one published video to date is this baffling parody of the song "My Shot" from hit broadway musical Hamilton, rewritten to be about Jeremy Corbyn. You can't tell who the artist is because in the video he wears a nightmarish Corbyn mask made out of tape or papier mache or something.

Verdict: The over-slick video, total strangeness of concept and a propensity for horrifying half-rhymes ("I'm just like my country/I'm old, polite and bumbly") conspire to make this the weakest of the JC pop I sampled.
Jez we can't—one beard out of five.