Saturday, June 14, 2008

There is a War Going on for Your Mind

This is primarily a travel blog, but since I'm not leaving for about a week, and I want to get into the habit of blogging (I hope to post something almost every day), I'm hoping to do some writing that reflects on who I am and grounds the blog going forward.

I've been listening to the Flobot's album Fight with Tools. I heard the single, "Handlebars," on the radio, and decided to get the entire album. It's fantastic. I've always liked music with a story or a message, especially a good political one, something too rare in today's music. Fight with Tools is a refreshing exception.

The single that inspired the purchase ("Handlebars") is about how the creativity and drive to achieve that is the bedrock of our society's meritocratic world view can lead to harm and destruction. It also has a strong anti-corporate overtone. The rest of the album, however, is much more political, addressing racism, the war, economic inequality, and other subjects of concern to the modern progressive. The tone of the message ranges from playful to angry to stark to hopeful. The title of the post is also the title of the first song, a poetic but harsh denouncition of marketing and propaganda (between which it makes no distinction). The phrase also comes up again in later songs with messages like "there are no civilians [in the war for your mind]" and "if you are thinking, you are winning." The overarching message is a directive to resist the control of those with a voice, and to battle the hegemony of their ideas.

I also like the musical style that mixes hip hop, rock, and spoken word. I am hardly an expert, so cannot offer solid analysis of how they use the viola and trumpet, other than to say that they're really cool, and I like it. But it does seem to highlight the lyrics rather than distracting from them.

Having listened through a few times, I like "There is a War Going on for Your Mind," "Same Thing," "Stand Up," and "Anne Braden" at least as much if not more than "Handlebars." When I buy a CD for a single, my standard for success is 2 other songs I really like, and this album does that for me. Also, as mentioned above, the different tracks on Fight with Tools will make reference one another, bringing a cohesion to the album. I'd recommend checking it out.

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