Loaded with a strong message, The 99’s ‘Rough Times In America’ stands up and makes its point heard loud and clear.
There’s always a difficulty when writing about music that is politically charged. It’s tough because we all have strong opinions, and there can be times when it feels like music is being used more as a way of emotionally strong arming its listeners into agreeing with its own point of view. Having said all that, while ‘Rough Times In America’ might be a little heavy handed in the views it attempts to get across, the music is as all american as you can get. With nods to Springsteen, and guitars that drive the anthem forward, it’s the kind of song that is as defined in its destination as the message it contains. As a result, it’s the kind of song that may well split opinion down the middle. While the “99%” sentiment is understood by many of us, and leaves us feeling disempowered and unable to make a difference, general opinion – politically speaking – still tends to fall in one of two directions fairly equally, either side of the Atlantic. Having said that, if we can’t use music and the arts as a means of communicating a message, then we may as well give up for good, right? ‘Rough Times In America’ is sure to stir many American hearts, and I’m sure it can claim empathy from others further afield.