This election continues to convince otherwise sane people to do irrational things—Palin-photoshopping, screaming at friendly people who agree with you at parties, repeatedly watching graphic clips of wolves being shot by mobile aircraft, etc. Ted Leo, punk hero, is apparently not immune to getting trapped into this dark place of fear and loathing, but at least his project takes the form of hastily writing and recording four songs and releasing them onto the internet.
Rapid Response, released yesterday, retails for four dollars—proceeds go to Democracy Now! and Food Not Bombs—and runs through covers of Cock Sparrer and Amebix in addition to two highly topical (“We were coming home from Denver and the DNC…”) originals. Take or leave the new songs, depending on how much like news dispatches you enjoy your punk rock, or vice versa, but give Leo credit for nailing this internet thing and accompanying the tracks with a few thousand words of explanation, relevant references (the songtitles have links to the articles that inspired them! It’s just like House of Leaves!), Shelter jokes, etc. “First of all,” says Leo, doing his best Kanye West, “don’t get on my case about recording quality, excessive compression, distortion, etc.” Song #1, “Paranoia: Never Enough,” links through to a Washington Post article on domestic surveillance; “Mourning in America” directs you to the Wikipedia page on Southern Strategy—you get the idea. Read along, caveats, clarifications, amendments, and all, and enjoy:
Also, I know that at one point it sounds like I’m saying “Amy GoodWIN,” but it’s just that I had never actually sung the song before, and I was rushing through it, not paying much attention to annunciation – I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt on that one, but you can still consider this a pre-emptive “clarification.”