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Current Events: When Pirates Attack - Paste counts down the Top 20 Best Pirate Songs not appearing in a Disney movie or theme-park ride

December 4, 2008  |  2:30am
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You can't turn on the news or pick up a paper these days without noticing a rather strange but kinda awesome (from dry land, at least) new phenomenon: the return of pirates to the high seas! OK, I know what you're gonna say—this isn't some kiddie movie starring Johnny Depp as a Keith Richards-impersonating swashbuckler; this stuff is for real! Even so, you gotta admire the moxie of those Somali scallywags. I mean, it takes some pretty big balls—even for a crew of buccaneers—to knock off a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million in crude. Now that's some 21st-century-style booty!

There have been over 100 pirate attacks off the Somali coast this year alone, including 40 successful hijackings. Just this week, these increasingly notorious sea salts got really gutsy, pursuing and firing shots at a luxury cruise ship that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. One minute, you're hitting up the crab-leg buffet in your speedo, and the next you're getting sniped at by pirates? Seriously?

Does anyone else wonder where these guys have been for the last few hundred years? Disney puts out three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and, all of a sudden, actual, real-life pirates magically appear off the Somali coast and start raising hell? Coincidence? I don't think so. It's gotta be some new experimental marketing they're doing for a yet-to-be-announced Pirates DVD collector's box. Keep an eye out for it.

The following pirate-themed playlist is dedicated to Blackbeard, Maggot Thomas, Long Ben, Jack Sparrow, One-Eyed Willie (and any other salty seamen out there, whether real or imagined), and also to the many unsung pirate-punk bands. Keep up the good fight, laddies! Someday, your genius will be recognized by the mainstream.

20. "The Old Black Rum" - Great Big Sea
Canadian folk-rockers GBS pay tribute to the wicked allure of the pirate's drink of choice.

The Old Black Rum - Great Big Sea

19. "Pirate Love" - Johnny Thunders
Punk pioneer, New York Doll and founding member of The Heartbreakers, Thunders rocked with pirate intensity at all times, and in the Dolls he dressed kind of like a lady pirate. Naturally, this made him a prime candidate to record a song about gettin' busy, pirate-style.

Pirate Love - Johnny Thunders

18. "Treasure Chest" - Rocky Votolato
Never mind what seem like obvious metaphors for lost love in this stripped-down acoustic ballad by Barsuk recording artist Rocky Votolato. When Votolato hints at how people change and grow apart over time, he is only trying to be coy and esoteric to throw you off as to what this song is really about: cursed pirate gold.

Treasure Chest - Rocky Votolato

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