Sometimes, the best way to protest something you feel is unjustifiably wrong is to present yourself to those in charge as a physical reminder that things have to change if we as a country are going to move past our differences. For those so inclined, however, music can also be a potent force for social revolution—just ask artists like Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
For Chattanooga musician Philip Haymaker, this idea of music as rebellion has given rise to his latest song, called "Make America Great," a scathing satire on the state of affairs within the current presidential administration. Taking the familiar slogan of "make America great again" and turning it into a sarcastic call to arms, Haymaker uses the song to point out the injustice and inequality that he sees being built within Donald Trump’s government.
For its video, he juxtaposes images of waving flags and scenes of America with lyrics about the current ban on travel and the threat of physical borders around the U.S. Whether you agree with his stance, there’s no denying the verve and passion that ignite these bouncing acoustic melodies. His voice is carried along on a catchy and propulsive rhythm, the kind that gets stuck in your head for days and refuses to budge.
Aided by a bright and jangling series of guitar rhythms and Haymaker’s spry vocal theatrics, the song becomes a bright pop statement that uses these luminescent sounds to provoke some complex thoughts about politics and the ways we as a nation often force our beliefs and U.S.-centric policies on a world that doesn’t share those same attitudes. But regardless of the song’s impact on you personally, its limber melodies and unequivocally radiant construction will provide a brief moment of reflection in a world that champions blunt noise over introspection.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.