Friday, February 17, 2017

Video Of The Week: Dead Messenger

There's this erroneous idea that tense, rigid and far-right-leaning political times makes for better arts in general - and music and film in particular. People point to the presidencies of Richard Nixon (1969-1974) and Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) as proof of this, and I want to make a counter-point.

It's harder for the Nixon years because the utter crap that existed back then didn't make it all the way until my time, but I vividly recall the 1980s, and such bands as Squeeze, Hall & Oates, Flock Of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, and so forth - thousands of acts that saw Miami Vice as a way of life.

For every U2 there were dozens of Duran Duran; for every R.E.M., there were a hundred boy bands like Color Me Badd; for every Guns N' Roses, there were thousands of Poison, Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Great White and W.A.S.P.-like shitty hair metal bands. And Bon Jovi existed pre- and post-New Jersey, which seems more and more like an accident every time they release anything, including Greatest Hits packages.

Which is to say that, yeah, Rage Against The Machine and Public Enemy are great vessels of thoughts of equality. But Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen would exist under any administration. And sure, some already-recognized acts are spurting out some nice art in opposition to what is happening right now in the U.S., but that art would likely have been great even without the added political message.

Take Dead Messenger, for instance. I've been telling the whole world that they're Montréal's best live band for years (nearly a decade, actually), and they likely still are even though the competition is stiffening. Their new single absolutely rocks, and it's the best, most condensed riff they've put out in perhaps five years, but they likely still would have come up with it without the election of Donald Trump and, let's face it, the U.S. has done enough damage internationally that the track may still very well have been called Hyper USA with a similar video directed by lead singer Roger White, shock-full of news footage of rights being trampled, flags and stock footage of go-go dancing, and 1950s fun times:

My point being that chaos does not just breed talent. Talent exists, and sometimes chaos focuses it for a bit, but it always surfaces by itself. Keep in mind all three of RATM's albums came out during the Bill Clinton era, as did Radiohead's OK Computer - a British piece, sure, but one nonetheless marked by a general feeling of unease, with a song called Electioneering smack-dab in the middle of it.

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