Rebel Rampage joins the line of recent artists who have decided to use their music to speak out as a form of political protest. However, like every new political piece of work released during this time, the political backdrop has changed drastically, which makes the music sound different than those that have come before it. Unlike albums released after the current president’s first year, Divided We Fall was created during a time when the president was speaking ill of third world countries, disrespecting women, including his former political companions, and ripping migrant children from their parents. All of these themes are reflected in Rebel Rampages debut, 12 track album.
The album begins with a call back to the traditional marching band music that became synonymous with much of American culture. In the 18th century, marching bands were used to increase the morale of soldiers. Both “Hymn to Freedom” and “Resistance March” allude to this time and the importance that music has always had in this country. This theme persists throughout the album and a march-like drumbeat can be heard on “Women in White.”
Each track seems to take a stance on a political issue that is of extraordinary importance in politics. In “Not the Enemy” Rebel Rampage discusses how the GOP views civil liberties. Rather than thinking of them is something to protect, they view them as something to destroy. “Immigration Man” speaks from the perspectives of American immigrants, seeking the ability to make a better life for themselves in a new country.
Rather than simply telling the narratives of people that feel marginalized, Rebel Rampage often speaks from the perspectives of these people. Using a first person narrative makes the stories more personal for both the performer and the listener.
However, this does not take place on the song “Women in White,” which is one of the few downsides of this album for me. While the song is powerful and unique in its discussion of the suffragette movement,, it would be much more powerful to hear from the men that support women in white and then to hear from a the women in white herself.
“I Am the Power” and “Scorched Earth” seem to contain more explicit calls to action for the listener. “I Am the Power” instills in the listener their power as an American to enact change in their own country. “Scorched Earth” discusses climate change and the president’s distrust of scientific evidence and explicitly states that “on the wrong side of history is not the place you want to be”
With the final track, “Divided We Fall,” Rebel Rampage have one more conversation with their listeners about the detrimental consequences of the actions of the GOP. Not only do they work to devalue the lives of many Americans, they also work to divide the country so that they can stay in power.
Music that serves as political and/or social commentary has always been my favorite kind of music to listen to. I really appreciate all of the topics that this album discusses and the ways that they are discussed. I do wish that there was some sort of transition in the album where the listener is given a break from more serious topics. However, the persistence with which Rebel Rampage discusses these issues reflects their frequency.
I am interested to see future projects from Rebel Rampage and whether they will how their themes will change over time.