The Federal Open Market Committee will make its hugely anticipated announcement about its next monetary moves at 2 pm today.
To mark the occasion, we figured we’d come up with a playlist to get you pumped.
While there are many songs about monetary policy and Fed announcements, these are the best of the best.
In each, we’ve explained the real meaning of the song.
Check it out:
#9 “I’m Waiting For The Man” by The Velvet Underground
Lots of people think this is about a guy meeting his drug dealer. That’s totally wrong. It’s about the market’s reaction to the moment the Fed statement comes out. Bernanke (or whoever the Fed chief is at the time) comes out with the “sweet taste” of easing, and instantly the market has to react.
He’s got the works/
Gives you sweet taste/
Ah then you gotta split/
Because you got no time to waste
#8 “Liquid Swords” by GZA (of Wu Tang Clan)
On the surface, this is about the rapping prowess of one of the most important Wu Tang Clan members. But everyone really knows this is the song playing in Fed Chair’s head as he announces another round of easing.
I’m on a mission that n***** say is impossible/
But when I swing my swords they all choppable/
I be the body dropper, the heartbeat stopper/
Child educator, plus head amputator
#7 “Expressway To Yr Skull” by Sonic Youth
Most thought this song was taking aim at the narcissism of the ’60s. It’s actually about the Fed declaring its imperviousness to calls to raise rates even if the economy is improving. “We’re gonna stay there as long as we think we should” is basically the Fed’s manifesto about its independence.
We’re gonna fire the exploding load in the milkmaid maiden head/
We’re gonna find the meaning/
Of feeling good/
And we’re gonna stay there as long as we think we should
#6 “Synchronicity II” by The Police
We were never able to figure out what this song was about until recently. We now know it’s an ode to FOMC members who perenially dissent from the main judgement (like Richmond Fed chief Jeffrey Lacker). Every meeting is a humiliating kick in the croch.
And every single meeting with his so-called superior/
Is a humiliating kick in the crotch/
Many miles away/
Something crawls to the surface/
Of a dark Scottish loch
#5 “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana
This is not, as some might think, a song about a fraught relationship. It’s actually about the fraught relationship between the New York Fed and primary dealers during debt auctions.
Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint/
Forever in debt to your priceless advice/
Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint/
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
#4 “Debaser” by The Pixies
This is not a tribute to early 20th century surrealists, but rather the rallying cry of hard metal traders as they watch the central bank expand the money supply, weakening the value of the currency.
Up to be/
Be a debaser/
#3 “Shock The Monkey” by Peter Gabriel
Some said this was a song about jealousy. It was actually a salute to Paul Volcker’s successful attempt to beat back inflation jacking up rates. Volcker famously was willing to tolerate an extroardinary amount of pain in the economy to accomplish his goals.
Monkey — too much at stake/
Monkey — ground beneath me shake/
Monkey — and the news is breaking/
Watch the monkey get hurt, monkey
#2 “Toxic” by Britney Spears
A song about sex? Not exactly. It can now be revealed that Britney is singing about nonperforming assets on member institutions’ balance sheets.
With a taste of your lips I’m on a ride/
You’re toxic I’m slipping under/
With a taste of a poison paradise/
I’m addicted to you — Don’t you know that you’re toxic
#1 “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles
Finally, a song that explains everything: fighting the Fed is like fighting fate. You can’t win.
Turn off your mind relax and float down stream/
It is not dying, it is not dying/
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void/
It is shining, it is shining.
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