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Watch: Rock Plaza Central take on politics, “Handsome Men”

on February 15, 2010, 1:00pm

The relationship between music and politics far pre-dates Rock the Vote and has a history that includes the greats, like Dylan, Lennon, and Diddy. However daunting it may seem to stake your claim in this rather crowded topical genre, Rock Plaza Central seem determined to stand-out and boy have they succeeded.

The critically adored Canadian rockers have released a music video for the song “Handsome Men”, a track from 2009’s …At The Moment of Our Most Needing, that depicts politicians, both American and Canadian, singing along to the haunting track. Yeah, they even got Obama. But while the audio-visual combination creates an alarming portrait of current politics, bandleader Chris Eaton has a clear message (and Faulkner references!):

“…the job of politicians has gone from serving their countries to just trying to win elections, and from leading by example to belittling the opposition so much that they are elected by being the lesser evil…

Many of the lyrics in song emerge from the story of William Faulkner’s Light in August, and you can hear that in the parts about the young woman who is convinced by a young man that he loves her, and when she becomes pregnant, he skips town. But all story is metaphor, and I like to have multiple meanings in my songs, so there’s also a strong comment for me about the music industry, and how as soon as people start finding out who you are, all of these slick business guys start calling and telling you what you should do, and also how most of today’s politicians will just tell you what the polls have told them you want to hear, and then you’re ultimately let down. It makes me kind of sick to my stomach. And basically, I think we can do better as humans.”

Whether you are with him or against him, it’s hard to deny how cool the video (and song!) is. Created by Josh Lyon of Akaflk and Lenny Epstein of Epstein Creative, it is unlikely we will see this on cable TV, but look for it to circulate around blue-state dorm rooms and offices soon.

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