Friday, February 15, 2008

It *is* more than a feeling

I write a lot about music and how it affects me. Music is just something that I always have to have around me. I turned it on this morning first thing when I was shaving, listened to a couple of select Lucinda Williams songs on my iPod on the subway on the way to work, and pretty much sat here at the 'puter for eight hours today with a pair of headphones on. I'll be here for a few more hours, and most of that time will be with headphones going through my playlist. Tonight I'll play guitar for a while, and when that's not happening you can bet a paycheck that the CD changer will be employed.

So, I really get it when Tom Scholz, formerly of the band, Boston, gets all upset about Mike Huckabee using his song, More Than a Feeling at a couple of campaign events. Scholz says playing the song implies he's endorsing Huckabee, something it seems he's adamantly opposed to.

Huckabee's camp got all weird with its response, saying Huckabee plays Sweet Home Alabama, but that doesn't mean Lynyrd Skynyrd endorses Huckabee. LS hasn't responded. John Mellencamp feels the same way about McCain playing Our Country and Pink House at campaign stops. Mellancamp said knock it off, and McCain wisely complied.

You know, music does have this mystical something that stirs us inside. You play, well...More Than a Feeling might stir me to leave the room, but other songs are just hot-wired to parts of my cerebellum. It starts with notes and leads to rhythms and tones, which do lead to a feeling, but then there's more after that. There are events and images and it's all a helluva lot like the Matrix and I can't explain it but it's there. You play Bonnie Tyler singing It's a Heartache and I can tell you where I was and how I was feeling when I first heard it. You play Stevie Nicks doing the same song, and it's completely different.

And all of these candidates know this. They are so much smarter than they come across. That's the sneaky part about all of them. They purposely dumb themselves down for the electorate, working their collective asses off to prove to voters that they are just common folk. Just one of them. And they do this by branding. No different from detergent or toothpaste. And they do it the same way ad agencies brand. The SOBs are sneaky in that way. It is like an endorsement. It's all part of the package.

But that's the part that so many of these candidates don't get. They aren't like us. Not like me at least. And music and the environment and public transportation and low taxes and just regular old folk are a very real, tangible part of my everyday life. But to these jokers all that stuff are just issues.

Scholz is right. Mellancamp is right. Don't mess with music.

1 comment:

WJ Shaffer said...

AMEN! Furthermore, why is it that these politicians and their camps do not feel obligated to get permission to associate artists' music with their campaign? Oh, but if that happened, no artist would be likely to give permission for Huckabee or his cohorts to abuse the music. Maybe Fleetwood Mac will grant permission for them to use "Sweet Little Lies"...though none of their lies is sweet.

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