Friday, July 26, 2013

Shut Up and Play the Hits


It's inevitable. A band puts out a few successful records and it thinks it has the right, nay, the obligation to turn the stage into a political soapbox. I don't mind musicians speaking out about what they believe in, but sometimes it's hard to take certain artists seriously. For instance:

Advocate for social change, popping tags
Macklemore - I saw Macklemore (and Ryan Lewis... poor guy, he gets no cred) at a free show in Atlanta in the spring. He spent a good five minutes lecturing the crowd on marriage equality. That's all good and well, but people don't exactly line up to get political lessons from a dude who raps about zebra jammies, velcro shoes, and R. Kelly's urine. Seems as though Mr. Macklemore had an agenda in his pocket to go along with that $20.

Green Day - The band dedicated an entire album to the Election back in 2004 and have made a habit of political grandstanding throughout their careers. Whether you agree with Billie Joe and Co. or not, you've gotta admit that it's tough to heed political advice from a band named after marijuana with a propensity to name their albums after feces.

Incubus - Back in college, Incubus was one of the biggest rock bands in the world and boy did they hate George W. Bush. They even released a single called Megalomaniac that compared him to Hitler. Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it's difficult to take their criticism of the former president seriously knowing that their band is named after a demon who has intercourse with women in their sleep.

The Dixie Chicks - Regardless of whether or not they're ready to make nice, I can't in good conscience take their political message to heart knowing that they murdered that poor Earl fellow. With black eyed peas nonetheless! I'm still unsure if they actually poisoned a can of black eyed peas or if they killed Earl by making him listen to the band of the same name. Both are lethal.

Toby Keith - It's hard enough to trust a man with two first names, but it's exceptionally difficult to take his uber-patriotic message seriously knowing that he gives beer to his horses. And what's with the entire song dedicated to a red solo cup? That's not very environmentally friendly. (If you're thinking I threw in a Conservative here at the end in an attempt to even things out a little bit... you're right.)

The point I'm trying to make here (in a very roundabout way) is not that we shouldn't trust musicians for political advice (though you shouldn't), but that we as individuals should think about our baggage when we take up a cause. For instance, if I were to take up a cause on Facebook, I need to realize that the same people who read my posts on said cause are also probably going to find the link to this silly blog. Just as I'm prone not to embrace political advice from Macklemore thanks to his song "Thrift Shop," others probably wouldn't take my views seriously because I named the Kool-Aid guy a Black History Month hero. And that's fine. In the same vein, before you change your profile picture to this or this or, Lord help me, rant about Trayvon, it's probably a good idea to make sure you (and everything you post) make you a decent representative for your causes and viewpoints. It's a good thing, even a noble thing, to fight for what you believe in and there are a lot of extremely worthy causes out there, but are we as people (especially young people) so arrogant as to assume that we're doing the cause a favor simply by attaching our name to it? Sometimes the best way to further your cause is to not be a visible part of it.