Lotta polically-tinged singles released this week, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
Depeche Mode | “Where’s The Revolution”
Because of course they wrote this song. Not that we didn’t need it (or need the question asked), but c’mon. That’s maybe a little too on-the-nose for you guys. And this is all despite the fact that it’s a great song. Their best offerings haunt you to the core, and the ghostly vocals and paranoid, itchy production here do not disappoint. Martin Gore’s lyrics are eerily descriptive, too: “They manipulate and threaten/ With terror as a weapon/ Scare you till you’re stupefied/ Wear you down until you’re on their side”.
Havok | “Ingsoc”
Not only is this a seven-minute single, it’s the band’s longest song to date. It’s also better than anything on their last record. David Sanchez’s snarl gives the 1984-inspired lyrics some serious venom. Previous single “Hang ‘Em High” was a rousing cry for action, but here Sanchez sound like a cornered animal. 2017 will likely gonna produce a lot of angry music, and (literal) thrashers like Havok will lead the way.
Vince Staples | “BagBak”
What a run: Hell Can Wait EP, Summertime ’06, Prima Donna EP, and now this – a three-minute banger with no fat. Over a pulsing beat from Ray Brady, Staples bluntly avoids his civic duty on some reasonable grounds (Prison system broken, racial war commotion/ Until the president get ashy, Vincent won’t be votin'”), and opines for a companion with his undercutting humor (“This is for my future baby mama/ Hope your skin is black as midnight”). Vince Staples is on a goddamn roll, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Mastodon | “Show Yourself”
So yeah, the band that made Remission and Leviathan isn’t coming back. The second single released from the upcoming Emperor of Sand LP is further proof that metal just isn’t what Mastodon does anymore. They’re still great songwriters, they can still write a killer melody when they feel like it, and Brann Dailor is still rock’s best drummer. But that doesn’t lessen the pain of losing the band that was once capable of knocking down a fucking brick wall.
Nickelback | “Feed The Machine”
I was surprised they were still a thing, too. The chugga-chugga riff is heavier than I expected, given that rock music of the ’10s isn’t exactly loud. It’s a welcome change of pace, if only for that reason. Lyrically, the song can be read as a comment on current events with somewhat sharp lines like, “Baiting every hook with filthy lies/ Another charlatan to idolize”. But this is a Nickelback song, so it’s also got this: “But now it’s your turn/ The ashes will burn/ And wither away”. Basically it’s big, dumb, arena rock ear candy requiring no thought, and no one does that better than these guys.