Indie Rockers and Obama

October 21, 2008

Music and politics go together like toothpaste and orange juice.

As seemingly every indie rock act stumps for Obama, I’m left feeling uneasy. I’m not bothered that they’re supporting Obama.

I’m bothered because I believe music, and all art for that matter, is about ideas not politics. Politics is where ideas go to be tarnished, corrupted, abused and destroyed. It’s the land of compromise, and art should never be compromised.

Art is about the pure expression of an idea. It shouldn’t be political; it should makes us think about our own politics.

The National have a song called, “Mr. November” off of their 2005 album Alligator. It was my favorite song of theirs until it recently became the slogan of their campaign to support Obama. Shirts were printed and sold with a picture of Obama’s face and the words, “Mr. November” below him.

The shirts turned the abstract into the concrete. It stunted the idea that was “Mr. November.” It tarnished the song and made me look at the band in a different light.

I’d prefer a world where artists worried more about the ideas they expressed than who they think should be running our lives.