I’m normally not a fan of politics in music. Sure, music is a form of expression and can often times be used to rally people together, but for me, the complexities of a political issue go overlooked in a simple pop song and suddenly a cause you once stood for becomes a marketing campaign and the lines between sincerity and commercialism become muddied. It’s worse once you get into subliminally attacking individual political figures in your song, because then your music forms the very dichotomy music should otherwise transcend, and suddenly a candidate has x more supporters not for his or her political stance but because of the artist’s political stance, which inspires widespread ignorance. Also, music in politics makes for really bad campaign ads.
That being said, Devo’s account of Mitt Romney’s 1983 vacation mishap involving driving for 12 hours with his dog, Seamus, on the roof of his car may be the best political song of 2012 (not that there’s much of a competition, is there?). “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed)” has the band mourning Seamus’s passing (of natural doesn’t-have-anything-to do-with-being-“National Lampoon’s Vacationed” causes), wishing Seamus had “lost it, just that once.” There are several attacks on Romney as a presidential candidate including accusing him of “piggin’ out on Super Pacs,” but the track’s focus sees to be on Seamus and the wrong Mitt committed to man’s best friend, delivering a mean finger-point in true Devo fashion.
So does it make for a political song with the same relevancy, substance, or weight as, say, “All Along The Watchtower”? Perhaps not. Will it be a hit among Houston when the band rolls into town with Blondie? Actually that’s a tough call given Texas’ political background and all. Nonetheless, I’m sure the track will make it on Barack’s “Mitt sux jamz” playlist gearing him up for the Fall. “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed)” is out on 8/25 which is National Dog Day (how appropriate). JOIN THE CAUSE