A country song with anti-elitist lyrics by a completely unknown American farmer, causing a stir on social media and among conservatives, topped music sales and listens in the U.S., according to Billboard on Monday.
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Oliver Anthony and his song “North of Richmond,” named after Virginia’s capital, 175 km south of Washington, beat megastars Taylor Swift, Morgan Wallen and Olivia Rodrigo to top the Billboard charts. The Hot 100 is dated. August 26th and will be released this Tuesday.
According to the Billboard website, the Hot 100 represents all records, streams and radio airplay in the United States, across all music genres, marking the first time a record has been recorded by an unknown songwriter and has not appeared on any chart.
Released on YouTube on August 11, and spending two days at the top of the country charts on Apple Music’s iTunes platform, “Rich Men North of Richmond” has been streamed approximately 17.5 million times and downloaded 147,000 units within a week, according to Billboard.
Along with bluegrass music, an offshoot of country music, it denounced the hardships of the lives of the working class and the most disadvantaged in the face of the privileges of the wealthy and elite of the first world powers.
Conservative magnate Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid, The New York Post, called the song “the political anthem of blue-collar workers” in the United States.
Anthony, who describes himself as a farmer from Virginia, thus opposes “people on the street with nothing to eat” and “obese people who suck up benefits.”
The area is moving in part because of the rise in suicides among American youth.
In his video, Anthony, with a red beard, wearing a green T-shirt and an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder, is on a stage in an undergrowth, playing and singing into a microphone.
“The rich north of Richmond” makes a big deal of the fact that the country is politically divided between the rural, conservative South and the central and progressive East and West Coast cities.
In fact, the song has been promoted on the left and right, especially by ultraconservative commentators Laura Ingraham and Matt Walsh, according to the New York Times.
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia (South), Donald Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist, hailed X (formerly of Twitter) as “an anthem for Americans long forgotten by our government.”
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