I have been a fan of the band New Politics since I first heard their song “Dignity”. Fortunately, I discovered them during my rebellious, angry-with-the-world teenage phase so they really helped me sort out my displeasure with those around me. I found solace in their raw, angry, helpless sound and their desperate pleads for change. Whenever I needed an escape I turned to their music. They helped me cope with problems, changes in my life, and the horrible state of the world around me.
As amazing as this band is, I am not pleased with their new album. I recently listened to three of their new songs: “Harlem”, “Stuck on You”, and “Tonight You’re Perfect”. I was shocked with what I heard. They lost the sound that I was so in love with. Everything sounded softer, brighter, and was more reminiscent of a rom-com soundtrack than the anthem of a disillusioned youth. Their new songs remind me of Fun., Owl City, and All Time Low rather than their own unique sound. I miss the lyrics that were like an elegant form of rap that the lead singer would talk-sing in rapid-fire fashion. I miss the grit, the torn edges and burning passion. Did New Politics sell out? I feel as though they decided to cater to popular listeners rather than their own sound and musical motifs. Where is the New Politics I knew and loved?
Don’t get me wrong; their new songs are good. I would listen to them and probably enjoy them immensely if I didn’t have knowledge of their previous material. They are catchy, melodious, and relaxing. But, my point is that none of these things are what New Politics was all about. They synthesized the singer’s voice, softening him and losing his raw qualities. The lyrics have also devalued in my eyes. For example in their old songs they had lyrics like:
“I’m so ashamed/Cause we’re all the same/Killing in the name money is the game now”
“You’re playing God with the world on my shoulder”
From “Nuclear War”
“There’s a war in front of me/We’re all crying out for peace
A depression at it’s peak/And they’re the ones who lead?”
And from the entire first verse of “New Generation”
“I met a stranger he had fire in his eyes
Then I met a pretty angel but she was like too dead inside
Then I met a bunch of children with no food to eat and no place to hide
So I tried to get away now but there’s nothing in the world that can keep me in the skies
So if you ever happen to bump into to god
Please ask him if he made us all up for fun”
Now, compare this with their new lyrics:
“Shake it like a bad girl up in Harlem”
“Ooh, light it up, yeah, smoke em if you got ’em”
“Makin’ a movie on the couch with a flip phone”
These lyrics sound more like the cookie-cutter, boring popular culture verses that are sung for their #yolo quality rather than their serious, social implications. I can only hope that as I listen to the rest of the songs on the New Politics’ new album I will be proven wrong. I hope this isn’t the end for New Politics. I want their fire back, I want to feel the stinging acidity of their striking lyrics that dissolve the shroud covering the fallacies of the world.