Tag Archives: Land of the Free

Land of the free…until we disagree

Happy Wednesday! (it IS Wednesday, right??)

Let me just open this post by sharing that I did not sleep well last night. My eyes are still tired (and blurry), I woke up about an hour later than normal, and I’m finding that I am struggling to form reasonably understandable sentences. I’m also way late…. Good luck reading! 😀

Can’t wipe the wind blown smile off my face

From time to time, something will crop up that gets the community into a heated debate over political stances. Whether that was a shirt that John wore somewhere, or a political event that John attended (hmm…John seems to be the only example here that I can think of….), it gets fans in an uproar.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a fan happens to agree with whatever is being said or supported, typically there’s no problem. It only seems to be an issue when you sit on the opposing side. Granted, I’m generalizing here, and I know it. (I did not stop to actually count opinions being presented verses the number of fans reading or actively participating. Shame on me!) That said, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it tends to create a discussion when one or more of them choose to be open with their political opinions.

Land of the free

Then there are the times when the band has released new music and a faction of fans don’t care for the new direction, collaboration, theme, etc. Basically, I mean every single time something new has been released. I mean, let’s be open and honest about that, right?

Imagine having both happen simultaneously. Can you envision the drama? A nightmare scenario indeed, yet, this is the very issue that fans of The Killers have been handling for the past couple of days. I’ve witnessed entire Facebook groups coming apart at the seams purely due to a single song and video. It has been both heartbreaking and eye opening on any number of levels.

The song (and video, directed by Spike Lee) is titled “Land of the Free”. It is a song directed squarely at the United States and was written by Brandon Flowers in response to the issues happening in our country as of late. My job here isn’t to embrace or lambast the song, it is purely to present the topic. For those who haven’t heard the song or seen the video, here it is:

Land of the Free by The Killers on YouTube

Walk the edge of America

The Killers are hardly the first band to present a politically charged song or video, they are just among the more recent to do so. I myself am a fan of The Killers, and to the best of my recollection this is easily the most political song they’ve done. Even Duran Duran has written a political song or two – but they’ve done it with far more finesse and subtlety (I’m thinking “Edge of America” – both the song and the video that was released late last year, or even “Paper Gods” – which they themselves said was politically motivated, albeit far less obvious). Even so, I’ve seen grumblings about how the band should stick to what they do best.

Having watched the video and listened to “Land of the Free” a number of times now, it isn’t hard to imagine why or how an entire fan community could be split. There’s no guesswork with the lyrics. They are strong and they are hurled directly in the faces of all Americans. They are a tough pill to swallow regardless of where you sit. It is not a pretty picture of America that is painted.

Concrete beach to scrape my hand

As one of their fans aptly put it, “Art is meant to provoke. It is meant to be controversial, and it is meant to be discussed and debated.” This is true. Their music and video is indeed art, and if it sparks discussion, that should be OK. We find common ground and understanding through communication, not by sweeping the topic under the carpet.

It is difficult to watch a fan community crumble over a single song. Comments range from dislike due to the song not sounding like it belongs in The Killers catalog to the topic of the song itself. On the opposite side there is joy and pride for bringing up a very difficult yet timely and necessary topic. Not many see that while this one song is rightfully controversial – it is only one song, and not the determining factor for where the band will head from here. It is easy to get so caught up in the details that you forget that The Killers are still a band. They’ll make more music.

I have to wonder what we would do as a community if a similar song was released. I believe the demographics for Duran Duran are a bit *ahem* older. But are we wiser? Do we realize that their opinions have just as much “right” as ours? Would we agree with the sentiment? Would we be able to get past the details enough to find common ground?

I’m just not sure.

-R