The Republican ticket and its choice of music has been a hot topic in recent weeks. As soon as Paul Ryan was named Mitt Romney’s running mate, his musical taste of Metallica, The Grateful Dead and Rage Against the Machine got plenty of attention. However, some of these selections of music completely go against everything these politicians stand for, and they don’t seem to realize or care.
In an Op-Ed in Rolling Stone regarding Ryan’s public declaration as a Rage Against The Machine fan, the band’s frontman Tom Morello responded “Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.”
Putting it all in a broader context, Salon.com released an article titled ‘Protests songs are pointless’. Stating that “The politically important stuff about music isn’t the “content” of the lyrics; it’s the symbolic gestures made by the people performing them.” It seems as though it doesn’t matter if a song is bashing the government or policies that politicians hold near and dear, they will use them in their campaign anyway.
Alternative rock band Silversun Pickups had a more direct beef with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Much to the band’s dismay, Romney’s camp was using their 2009 hit ‘Panic Switch’ at recent events. Front man Brian Aubert released a statement to the press stating that he does not support the Romney campaign and does not appreciate the GOP candidate using his band’s song without permission. However, The band suggested that Romney’s use of the single was ironic because “he [was] inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign.”
Silversun Pickups is far from the only band to have problems with politicians using their music. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister also asked the Romney campaign to stop using the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Music and politics has always been, and will continue to be, a breeding ground for debates and drama. Maybe politicians should spend less time trying to seem hip and more time taking the words and lessons of their “favorite” artists and songs to heart.