Because Songs Matter

Two Cow Garage – Brand New Flag

brand-new-flag-1

I’ve been wanting to talk about this record since before it came out but something about it has eluded being put in to words. Being as that it’s Two Cow Garage you should be able to guess or already know that it’s an amazing album so just talking about how great it is didn’t seem like it would do justice to the ideas that are being expressed here. So I’ve sort of been marinating in the songs, letting them sink in and become part of me, and while I was doing that everything got turned upside down. We elected an orange nutjob as POTUS and all of a sudden Brand New Flag started taking on a whole different meaning for me, and I suspect for a lot of others. When the world goes off it’s always music that centers me and brings me back and I think that this is now a much more important record than it would have been. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s been important to me since the first time I played it.

So fuck being clever,we’ve got to be kind
An iPhone for an iPhone has left us all blind
Sarcastic critics of each other’s hearts and minds
And that’s just no way to live
And we, we have to stop comparing ourselves
We have to have to our lives to everyone else
– Shakespeare and Walt Disney

The difference between now and when I first heard it and now is that I used to feel like we were going down the right path and these songs were about the things we needed to do in order to keep going down the right path. I didn’t think we were close to the end and now I realize how naive I was to think that we were anywhere near the right path. These songs are now so much more important because we’re moving backwards and it’s people who care that will make things safe for those who don’t fit the mold that Trump’s supporters want for America. It’s songs like “Let The Boys Be Girls” that will give hope to people like my daughter as we watch a homophobe vice president be sworn in to the White House. It’s people like Shane, Micah, Todd, and Murph that will be making the uncomfortable feel a safe for a few minutes at a time and right now that’s what we desperately need.

No matter what they say
I will always find a way
I promise I will never give up
Yeah, I promise I will never give up
– I promise

I was once of those people would have voted for Trump, it’s a past that’s part of me whether I like it or not, and I know the fear of changing, I know the fear of what you think your way of life being threatened is, I know the fear of admitting that you’re wrong about pretty much everything but I also know the freedom and liberty in realizing that you’ve been lied to and that you can change, that your way of life is a microcosm of the greater human experience and that nothing is really threatening you, your way of life, or your family. Well at least not by making sure that people have the same exact rights as you do, what’s happening now is a completely different story and people are rightfully scared, the fear is a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation. Even if it turns out that nothing happens and none of our freedoms get rolled back and the status quo remains the same the fact is that a lack of progress is regress at this point.

They called me a faggot and freak
As I sat there on my knees
And I was too scared to speak
But I’m not scared anymore
And I’d rather die in that parking lot than ever feel that helpless again
– This Little Light

I wanted to explore the difference between the political and personal in TCG’s songs. What I realized is that the political is personal in most aspects. The fear that is present is not a disassociated political tremble somewhere in the back of our minds. We’ve already seen hate based attacks on the rise, even if some of them have been proven to be hoaxes there are even more that are not. There are personal stories and videos all over social media. Even if the incoming administration really isn’t full of bigots (hint: it is) it has emboldened more bigots to be open with their hatred. Make no mistake, there is a valid reason for the fear that we’re seeing and this record, these songs, the people that wrote, sing, and perform them aren’t the only ones thinking there’s a problem. Seeing these songs played at Holiday Hangout and knowing how real all of this is to all of us was a very moving experience.

And every single song on your radio, playing soft low
Says “baby don’t you worry the things you can’t control”
But I am fuckin’ worried
‘Cause we were all left in control
And we are all that is in control
– History Now!

There were some buttons floating around HHO and I didn’t end up with one, but they said “I will do my best to fuck up any bigot that fucks with you”. That pretty much sums up where we are. We all need to be the safe space people need. I know this seems to be a little rambling and overtly political but that’s pretty much all I can think about when I listen to Brand New Flag and it’s important right now. This record is a safe space, it is a large part of what we need right now. It is Essential Listening for that and so many more reasons. It’s personal, it’s political, and it’s sometimes hard to listen to because of the sheer honesty involved. It is one of the best albums released this year and currently my favorite Two Cow Garage album, bar none and it should be one of yours as well.

5 Comments

  1. December 13, 2016    

    Way to make things worse by turning being kind into us against them battle. So, be kind as long as they are people who agree with you or you like. People like you are the problem.

    • December 13, 2016    

      Romeosidvicious here: Not at all. I never once said not to be kind all the time. If you managed to get that out if my post then you’re a moron. Bigots give up their right to be respected or have kindness given to them. You’ll note I specified “bigots” which means they’ve already done something to someone else or multiple others to show that they’re a bigot. There’s no reward in ignoring bigotry or staying silent when it’s happening.

  2. December 13, 2016    

    I’m a butch lesbian. Two weeks ago I was harassed twice in three days, once by people who specifically chanted “build the wall.” Nobody around me or my friends did anything. In New York City where it’s safe to assume most of the bystanders were Democrats.

    So Romeo: thanks for calling in your readers, who are mostly white men. How will this music empower you to protect the people around you? Unfortunately, we need it.

    • Romeo Sid Vicious Romeo Sid Vicious
      December 13, 2016    

      I’ve pretty much never been afraid of conflict, maybe a little too not afraid. I wish I knew how to inspire others to step up, maybe something I write will, maybe those of us who are willing to stand up can set an example. I know that I don’t have any real answers, at least not right now. I promise I won’t back down though, won’t shut up, and will do whatever I can to make people feel safe.

      The music reminds me that not everyone has the same experience or privilege I do and that I need to use what I have, whenever I can, to help make the world safer for others, no matter who those others are.

      • December 18, 2016    

        Oh yeah — that was a question for the readership as a whole. But I strongly recommend AGAINST violent confrontation 🙂

        I’m a one per center from NYC so I very much relate to that second paragraph 🙂

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