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WATCH: Blues should never be elevator music: Anthony Blinken murders a Muddy Waters song

Public Domain

Reader, we regret to inform you that Anthony Blinken tried to sing the blues. That’s not a joke or a metaphor. He literally sang a cover of Muddy Waters’ ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ and actually thought it was good enough to post onto Twitter/X. 


He was wrong. Listen for yourself, if you can stand it:

Now, he does make a self-deprecatory comment at the beginning, but we think that was false modesty. If he really knew how bad this was, he would never have posted it on Twitter.

If you want to get some sense of how terrible it was, here’s the original from Muddy Waters:

If you notice, that version has edge and pathos. Some people have gone deep into the backstory behind this song …

… but we always interpreted it as kind of wounded pride. The character in the song is talking a big game, but it actually comes from hurt more than anything. At least, that is our interpretation and the nice thing about art is that many interpretations are valid.

Blinken’s version is like the ‘elevator music’ version of the song. That is pretty appropriate because he is the elevator music version of a secretary of state: A man so milquetoast and inoffensive it actually circles around and becomes offensive. You think to yourself watching him: ‘this is the bozo we are sending to negotiate on our behalf? This weenie? Xi will eat him alive.’


And this was diplomacy? If we were the leader of a foreign nation, we might risk war to stop the song. Or is it more like he will keep playing this until our enemies surrender? ‘Iran, give up your nuclear ambitions or I am doing an encore where I do a cover of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot?’’

Seriously, we are reminded of that scene in ‘Airplane!’ when a nun sang a rendition of Respect:

(The joke being that the guy wasn’t just throwing up because of food poisoning.)

And to clean our palate a little, Eric Clapton’s classic, back-to-basics album ‘From the Cradle’ is made up entirely of old school blues covers. It includes a version of ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ that gets it. Clapton gives the song the edge it deserves:

Seriously, give the album a spin. It’s pretty great, even if he goes overboard on the first song.


And there were strange people who liked it:

Did you actually listen to it?

No, and you can’t check that square because he isn’t.

Seriously, JoJo, blink twice if you are being held against your will.

We are not sure we are willing to trade his diplomacy for more of his music. That really would be taking one for the team.

One person offered alternative lyrics:


For our part, we think cultural appropriation arguments are essentially racist and we reject them. But if it would stop Blinken from doing this ever again, we might rethink our position on the subject.

And this next post illustrates what we hate the most about this:

That is from the official account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Taiwan. The thing is, they have to say this. We’re free to tell the truth that this is cringe, but if you are Taiwan, you are forced to clap along and pretend you haven’t died on the inside a little bit listening to this, because without America, they would have been taken over the by the Chinese Communists decades ago. We always hate it when people are forced to be false to be polite.


Anyway, as a final palate cleanser, let’s enjoy some music that we call neo-blues:

We think the video does more to distract you from the music, rather than enhancing your enjoyment of it. But if you close your eyes and listen, it’s a solid song that probably isn't strictly blues, but it fits nicely in in the blues tradition.

As for Blinken, let’s hope we never have to speak of this again.


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