Have you heard about this Obama guy? He was recently sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America. It happened on Tuesday, and according to a news stand I passed on the way to work on Wednesday it was an historic event. Lots of people are excited, most of them because of the color of his skin. After hundreds of years of codified, subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination this country has finally embraced racial equality in the highest office of the land. Can I get an Amen?!
That said, I think that if we’re all really being honest with ourselves then we have to admit that Obama’s presidency represents more than just overcoming the racial barrier. If there’s any truth to the propaganda I’ve seen all over the city, Obama’s followers also believe in the abstract concepts of hope, progress and change. Which is just another way of saying, “If you put on more one more lying, cheating, morally corrupt politician in charge of this country we are going to start a fucking revolution.” As a hater of politicians and a supporter of revolutions in general, I have to say I agree with this sentiment.
But I’m also picking up on something else, something that is just under the surface that has not gone unnoticed by a lot of people. The honesty conveyed by our new commander-in-chief seems genuine. It’s not the fake-ass, I’m just a regular kind of guy “honesty” (with air quotes) perpetrated by inbred aristocrats who cut their teeth in Ivy League secret society. It’s more like the Chris Rock Head of State kind of honesty, where he simply declaims what people already know – or suspect – to be true. I’m not saying he’s gonna tell us who shot Kennedy or anything, but at least he admits to trying drugs when he was young. For a politician, this is a huge step.
I would like to see a little more of this from those among us who have a high profile public persona. With the exceptions of rock stars – who are supposed to live like travelling hedonists – nobody can seem to admit they are human, that they have human weaknesses and desires. Young people fuck up. They smoke pot and crash their parents’ cars. Old people fuck up too. They get drunk and lie to their wives and sleep with young people. It doesn’t mean that they are unfit to do their jobs. It just means that they’re not good at hiding the parts of their lives that most people can be discreet about because they don’t live under a spotlight. Again, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we wouldn’t be so quick to string up politicians for having sex or doing drugs. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.
At best this is an abstract philosophical concept, one better left to bar stool poets and homemade rock albums. I can’t say for sure, but I think The Marches may have heard this call. Their new album 4 a.m. Is The New Midnight wraps the slippery underbelly of humanity in a warm embrace. The lyrics are hidden by an intentionally Beck-esque veil of nonsense, but the theme is unmistakable: decent people sometimes like to do dirty things.
This is an electro-indie soul nugget made for creatures of the night. The band swings back and forth from classical syncopation to Motown soul braced with lusty synthesizers. The lyric sheets are rife with unspoken sexual desires and odes to celebrity crack habits. It’s kind of like The Marches are singing to you about something you won’t even admit to yourself.
Remember though, this is a new era, one in which hope and honesty are supposed to have the upper hand. Well ok. Since we’re being honest, I’ll admit it. This album is weird and perverted in places, and that’s what I like about it. Barack Obama to all, and to all a good night.
MP3: 'Bad Touch'
MP3: 'Need Me Back'