An American farmer from Virginia a few days ago anonymously broadcast on YouTube a piece of country music with anti-elite lyrics: his song In Defense of the Poor has been viewed 10 million times and topped the charts on Apple Music.
Composée by Oliver Anthony, “Rich Men North of Richmond”, du nom de la capitale de la Virginie located at 175 km au sud de Washington, a déjà été baptisée by le tabloïd The New York Post “the hymne politique des cols-bleus ” in the United States of America.
Accompanied by bluegrass, an offshoot of country, the lyrics denounce the hardship of working-class and more disenfranchised lives in the face of the privileges of the rich and the elites of the first world power.
Oliver Anthony, who calls himself a farmer from Virginia, compares “street dwellers who have nothing to eat” with “fat people who use the welfare state as a cash cow.” He also satirizes the liberal economic policies of tax cuts since the 1980s.
The paragraph was also affected by the rise in American suicides: “Young people find themselves six feet under, because all this goddamn country does is continue to bring them down.”
The three-minute video shows the singer, in a bush, playing and singing into a microphone: a blond man with a red beard, wearing a green T-shirt, and an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder.
Monday has been viewed at least 10 million times on YouTube.
“Rich Men North of Richmond” also pays tribute to the fact that the country is politically divided between the rural and conservative south and central regions on the one hand, and the developed cities on the east and west coasts on the other.
The song ignited the Internet last week, before climbing to number one on the country chart on Apple Music’s iTunes platform, according to Billboard, one of the first outlets to spot the phenomenon.
Its competitor Rolling Stone said that “alt-right influencers have found their favorite country song”.
Indeed, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Donald Trump supporter and follower of conspiracy theories, ruled on social network X (formerly Twitter) that Anthony’s piece was “Washington should hear.”
It is an American anthem that our government has long forgotten. They are my people, good hard working men and women who make America work. I will fight for them every single day,” wrote the Georgia (South) State Representative.
At the same time, Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, assessed on the same platform that “progressives should also listen” to this song against “poor wages and the power of elites.”
“Amateur entrepreneur. Professional internet expert. Zombie maven. Incurable pop culture scholar.”