Rage Against the Florence

Posted: December 24, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

It really is an amusing Christmas when the number one single has the BBC with their panties in a twist. Not quite on the same scale of embarrassment as the Sex Pistols Jubilee number one cover-up, but something of a coarse wake-up call to any sleepwalking music executives hoping to lull everyone into a stupefied slumber of banality.

Like the Pied Piper, Simon Cowell loves to lead the general public a merry dance, until eventually cackling as they all toss their gold into the ocean. Some say the X-Factor devotees know exactly what they are doing and no brainwashing is involved, but it would be interesting to know what percentage of the people who buy the records generated by this phenomenon are actually enjoying the single or album the next Christmas. Or even six months later.

Some sceptics talk of the futility of this action because both Rage Against the Machine and Joe McElderry are on Sony’s books, but they miss the point of the whole venture. As Rage Against the Machine have mentioned themselves, being signed to a major label is a means to an end. To bring down the corrupt forces of Hyper-Capitalism from within, one must first offer subservience, a small compromise for the huge distribution and promotion this offers for the band to communicate their messages and ideas. It is indeed an unfortunate irony that while Simon Cowell loses face, Sony are dancing in the aisles that no matter which pony Joe Public throws his dollar at, they will suck up the proceeds, and bitterer still that the very ethos of Hyper-Capitalism is adhered to more slavishly than Sony could have wished on a Christmas star for. People are paying good money for a product that seemed to have lost its market appeal; a product whose release date was a good 17 years previous and was most likely already owned by close to 100% of its purchasers, some of who would buy 3 or more copies.

But if we prefer to view this event through uncorrupted and non-cynical eyes we can afford to be filled with a sense of optimism, because surely this small act of anarchy proves that power does reside in the hands of the people, that Margaret Mead had it spot on that small collectives of like-minded souls can indeed change their own world a fragment at a time.

There could be no more fitting figureheads of rallying against unjust systems than Rage Against the Machine. With a long history of fighting social injustice, incendiary political lyrics and donating vast sums of money to human rights charities, they represent the authentic voice of anti-establishment rebellion. But a pertinent question about the relevance and appropriateness of ‘Killing in the Name’ should be examined. Taking aside the BBC histrionics about explicit lyrics, surely there were more apt Rage tracks to choose. ‘Take the Power Back’, ‘Guerrilla Radio’ and ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ come to mind as tracks whose titles particularly are ambiguous enough to suit the purport of the campaign. Using a track about military hypocrisy seems slightly extrinsic to the objective, and it calls into question whether there was a deep message behind the insubordination, or whether the instigators simply picked the most offensive track possible to ‘get up the noses’ of the BBC and such, in which case we all enjoy a good laugh but are left with a slightly hollow sense of the same vacuous intentions at work as the X-Factor camp.

Up yours Simon Cowell indeed.

  1. Alex Hodson says:

    I like what you’re saying with this, my own personal opinion as to why this track was chosen over many others with much more obvious titles is the “Fuck You, I won’t Do What You Tell Me!” part, directed, I would hope, at Simon Cowell and his minions by people who are sick and tired of being told what do do by a man who seems to be mainly made of trousers and has expressed an interest in “going into Politics”. Please, for the love of God, don’t.

    Wishing You All a Very Merry Christmas! xxx

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