Inspired by the Beach Boys “I Know There's an Answer,” I'm going to take a look at the question in rock. From “Why Don't We Do It in the Road?” (answer: no) to “Do You Think I'm Sexy?” (answer: it's complicated) questions give artists ways to both push forward the narrative and to put the audience in a character's shoes. What follows are 15 prime examples of the inter-rock-ative (ha!).
Widow Babies - “Whatchu Thinkin' Vampire Lincoln???” - Even after listening to their supremely catchy EP devoted to Mike Watt and Abraham Lincoln, I didn't realize how adorable this band was until I said their name out loud.
Mos Def - “Fear Not of Man” - Always the moral auditor of hip-hop, Mos Def asks people not to wonder how to save hip hop but to wonder how to save the people. Mos Def has the answer, and—spoiler alert—it's God!
Funkadelic - “Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?” - Nobody's said this since the mothership landed.
Limp Wrist - “Does Your Daddy Know?” - Limp Wrist tackle the question of when to come out to your parents–with four chords and lots of screaming, of course. Also, just about every Limp Wrist song is one long mondegreen.
Be Your Own PET - “Fuuuuuun” - Jemina Pearl teases some bro-y acquaintance by asking “So, how's your two dogs, dude?” Something tells me she doesn't really care.
A Tribe Called Quest - “Can I Kick It?” - The fact that I spent most of high school thinking “kick it” meant “leave” created some confusing situations.
Fugazi - “Suggestion” - Ian Mackaye tries to put himself in the place of the women in the DC punk scene (and in greater society), wondering why he can't just walk down the street without being sexually harassed.
Paul McCartney - “Long-Haired Lady” - This Ram cut begins with a woman questioning Paul's love for her, but the real question is why she didn't just peace out right when Paul called her his “long-haired lady.”
The Go-Betweens - “Apology Accepted” - I don't think I've heard anything longer than the song-length cliffhanger of “is my apology accepted?”
Hüsker Dü - “Celebrated Summer” - For such an awesome summer song, the way Bob Mould asks, “Is this your celebrated summer?” doesn't really sound like he'd believe you if you said yes.
Shabazz Palaces - “Blastit” - In typically oblique fashion, Shabazz Palaces tackle politics with the question “what would it take to get you turn up the grease on that chicken?” Answer:”one white president.” Huh?