Final Word from Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twenty-five years after the Velvet Revolution, American pop music is simply brimming with references to the monumental event. Taylor Swift was so struck by it that she named her new album "1989." In her hit song "Out of the Woods," she sings about two lovers who debate whether Central Europe is in the clear yet of Russian domination. (See here for the song and here for the lyrics.) Country singer Angaleena Presley isn't so sure the revolution was a success. In "Better Off Red," she turns the expression "better dead than red" on its head and suggests that remaining behind the Iron Curtain might have been better than reentering Europe. (See here for the song and here for the lyrics.) What powerful political statements from these two young American singers! Oops. Sorry. Our bad. Taylor was actually referring to the year of her birth (1989) and to a fragile relationship, not to the end of Soviet rule. And Angaleena meant that she might be better off being a redneck than a star. Golly, maybe the world isn't so enthralled by the Velvet Revolution after all. [Czech Republic industry]

Glossary of difficult words

to brim with - to be abundantly filled or supplied with;

out of the woods - out of danger or difficulty;

in the clear - no longer in danger; no longer suspected of something;

better dead than red - it is better to be dead than to be a Communist (or to be dominated by Communists);

our bad - a flippant way of admitting a mistake;

redneck - a working-class white person from a rural area;

to be enthralled by/with - to be captivated or enchanted by.

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