Thursday, October 20, 2005

Aces High-Iron Maiden

Guitars in harmony, the standard metal preamble, staccato drum flares, ooh, then a time change- oh yeah, this is Maiden. Then it hits, urgent, propulsive description of preparations for a coming attack. This is Maiden in their patriotic non-Dune/Edgar Allen Poe phase. The third movement is where the songs really hits, you actually feel like Messerschmidts and Hurricanes and Spitfires are flying all over the place, tracers every which way, the Battle of Britain of course. The actual chorus part is too cheesy for me, but the movement (one of about ten) that hits at 1:55 is pure awesomeness, and this is one of the Maiden songs where you actually hear Steve Harris' bass, and actually appreciate it a little bit. The solos aren't even that over the top and ridiculous. Actually, what I like about this song, regardless of its cheese factor, is that it feels patriotic without being excessively jingoistic. Maybe its easier to be that way when the song doesn't come across like "Burn My Flag and I'll Burn Your Ass" style cobag sentiment. Also, when your country is not the biggest and most powerful on the block and was fighting for its life against NAZIS for goodness sake, you can have a little patriotic sentiment.

Additionally, if I may unbecomingly become serious pour un momento, when I hear this song I think about the Gregory Peck/Gary Merrill film Twelve O'Clock High. It's not about the Brits, but instead a Yank bomber squadron based in Britain. It details the bloody toll on bomber crews flying dangerous daylight long range bombing missions. They keep getting shot to hell. I won't ruin it for you, but the scene that gets me is the squadron member pedaling out to the deserted airfield after the war, they use the "Baa Baa Black Sheep" song and it just crushes you. Tonight, listening to Aces High, I am wondering if George W. Bush has ever contemplated what war does to our troops (no point in thinking whether he contemplates how Iraqis are affected) or it he's ever seen Twelve O'Clock High, or any other non-John Wayne (or Ronald Reagan) war movie. Perhaps he and his pappy, WWII pilot that he was, watched Gregory Peck unravel time and time again, but in a snarkily mocking way- "that's not how George Herbert Walker Bush was imprinted by the War, just Peck, a liberal movie icon." Maybe they just watched it for the flying footage, and pappy would say "one day you're going to fly planes just like me."