Protest: Drown Out the News With Loud Music: Think of This as Your 2018 Midterm Playlist

Don't Forget to Vote Tomorrow!

Nov 05, 2018 By Steve King Web Exclusive
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If you're like me the last couple years have been... challenging. Public discourse is toxic and even the people on your side of the aisle are annoying the shit out of you. There are too many damn Nazis. Every other news story is about sexual assault. It's all very disheartening. Seriously, we are living in the Triggered Age. It's no fun, unless you're the president. And he doesn't really seem to be enjoying himself either. Even if you have a high tolerance for evil, sometimes it just gets to be too much. I used to watch a lot of news. Now, my go-to, even in an exciting midterm election year, is HBO Family. I've bought four different refreezable ice masks in the last year. I've been rewatching a lot of Frasier and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I'm not talking about nostalgia. Nostalgia is stupid and for the weak. But it's nice to transport your mind back to a more innocent time when the worst thing to happen in the White House was oral sex. 

However, sometimes even the regressive coping mechanism comforts of familiar and commercial-free '90s TV shows just won't do it. People need a distraction. I wish to God someone could block out the voices in my head for five minutes. Voices that scream over and over... Why do they come to me to die? Why do they come to me to die?

Wait. Hold on. That's Wayne's World 2. Nostalgia got me there for a second! Anyway, even the most therapeutic of entertainment has a way of mentioning or alluding to current events. Sometimes, all you can do is cover your eyes with an ice pack, put on headphones, alter your perception a bit, and zone the fuck out. But somehow, reality finds you. Even in the most banal entertainment, it hunts you. Something will always remind you of what's going on in the real world. It's a strange phenomenon. So you might as well go with it and work it into the music.

That hippie shit won't do. Don't get me wrong, I listen to a lot of hippie shit, but damn it, slow, thoughtful, liberal songs leave too much room to think and then the old mind is back to the races again. No. You'll need something fast, or hard, or just plain fucked up. Like exposure therapy. Something loud might just be what the doctor ordered.

We all have our ways of coping. I use sex and awesomeness. Hold up. That's 30 Rock. Gah, I did it again! The point is in 2018 America there's nothing that says a safe space can't be dark as fuck. Lately I've been leaning toward more '90s industrial rock or something with a good beat.

Marilyn Manson: "Great Big White World"

All my stitches itch

My prescriptions low,

I wish you

Were queen

Just for today

Nothing heals and nothing grows in Manson's world. The same goes for us. This one perfectly captures the frantic and foreboding ethnocentricities of 2018.

Nine Inch Nails: "Ruiner"

The ruiner's got a lot to prove he's got nothing to lose and now he

Made you believe

The ruiner's your only friend well he's the living end to the cattle

He deceives (MAGA)

This one kind of speaks for itself. I don't even need to elaborate. Just turn on cable news, mute the TV, and blast it.

Soundgarden: "Black Hole Sun"

Hang my head, drown my fear

Till you all just disappear

I'm sticking with the '90s theme for now and I think about this song at least once a day. And not just because the Westworld version is my ringtone but rather everyone on both sides of the aisle is really obnoxious all the time these days and wouldn't it all be great if we all just got wiped out? Don't we kind of deserve it for letting this happen?

Tom Waits: "Hoist That Rag"

Well, we stick our fingers in the ground

Heave and turn the world around

Smoke is blacking out the sun

At night I pray and clean my gun

Okay, so Tom Waits obviously didn't make industrial rock, but nothing so perfectly identifies the modern mood like good ol' Tom. Every verse in this song is about life in America today.

Nine Inch Nails: "Capital G"

Well, I used to stand for something

But forgot what that could be

There's a lot of me inside you

Maybe you're afraid to see

Originally conceived as a Trent Reznor version of a protest album against President George W. Bush, "Capital G," and really all of Year Zero, serves as a great primer for what would become of the country just a short decade later.

Rage Against the Machine: "Bullet in the Head"

Nothin' proper about ya propaganda

Fools follow rules when the set commands ya

Said it was blue

When ya blood was red

That's how ya got a bullet blasted through ya head

Blasted through ya head

Blasted through ya head

I give a shout out to the living dead

I know, "Killing In The Name Of," "Wake Up," or "Bulls on Parade" might do it for you and, yes, Rage is not technically industrial, but again, this one does it for me and if you haven't been revisiting Rage Against the Machine in the last couple years you're doing it wrong.

Disasterpiece: "Heels"

Honestly, there's no lyrics here. It's just how living under this regime feels.

Warren Zevon: "Lawyers, Guns, and Money"

Send lawyers, guns, and money

The shit has hit the fan

Okay. This isn't anyone's idea of hard rock but I still play it every time someone who worked for the president gets indicted.

Run The Jewels: "Talk To Me"

Went to war with the Devil and Shaytan

He wore a bad toupee and a spray tan

So high now, hoping that I land

On a Thai stick, moving through Thailand

On the radio, heard a plane hijack

Government be in debt while they cook crack

I move in a world of conspiracies

Obey no rules, I'm doing me

Nothing quite encapsulates the aggression and predatory nature of America these days like RTJ. So Mike's a little crazy. He gets a pass. "Lie, Cheat, Steal" is like the theme song for the Trump Administration.

Nine Inch Nails: "Last"

This isn't meant to last

This is for right now

I'm just going to leave this one right here on the Internet hoping that in 2020 I can listen to it again knowing I was right and that we're all not dead.

Happy midterms! Have fun! Try not to vote for any Nazis. Maybe play one of these songs while you're standing in line waiting to vote.

Find your polling place here.

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