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Of all the show tunes out there, “Freedom Isn’t Free” from the animated musical Team America is my favorite. It shows me just how powerful humor can be when dealing with sensitive topics, and this is a lesson I’ve carried with me for all my life.
The Team America soundtrack is one of a kind, and “Freedom Isn’t Free” is definitely my favorite track. Like many other show tunes I’ve heard, it’s filled with inappropriate themes, and it’s hilarious.
In case you haven’t seen Team America, you should know that it’s a animated musical created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, then guys who created the hit TV show South Park and the Tony Award winning Broadway show The Book of Mormon.
I’ve always loved Trey Parker and Matt Stone. No topic is taboo or off limits when it comes to their writing, but they also have a knack for lacing their comedy with elements of brutally honest truth. Most of their creations, whether it’s an episode of South Park or a musical like Team America, contain some sort of social or political commentary. And it’s usually non-biased and surprisingly accurate.
And that’s why I love “Freedom Isn’t Free”. At face value, this song is all about the need to defend freedom around the world by whatever means necessary, including military action.
At a deeper level, however, it’s mocking anyone who actually has this mindset in real life, as evidenced by the singer’s comically thick southern accent.
Broadway productions and musicals don’t exactly tread lightly around sensitive subjects like politics, and Team America is no exception. It dives right into the deep end of controversy, and I really appreciate that.
I think that part of the reason I love “Freedom Isn’t Free” and the rest of the Team America soundtrack is because it uses comedy to make these touchy subjects more approachable.
In the same way Tarantino uses comedy to lower your guard just before a violent scene, songs like “Freedom Isn’t Free” make you laugh first, then challenge you to actually think about the song’s message.
It might sound weird, but I’ve tried to use this method in my own life. Whether it’s diffusing tension in a difficult meeting at work or trying to approach a wary stranger at a bar, comedy can help.
Injecting humor into any situation immediately lightens the mood and opens up new possibilities. The Team America writers know this, and they do it expertly, as you can see when you listen to “Freedom Isn’t Free”.
That’s why, of all of the amazing show tunes that were ever written, this silly satirical ballad is my favorite.
Click here to buy team america on video, blue ray and the soundtrack.