Say You Want a Revolution: Living Colour, “Information Overload” (1990)

Picasso talked of using his art as a weapon. That seems the right mindset for rock singing. “Let ’em have it” in the combat as well as entertainment sense.

Hookwise, you can let ’em have plenty with a single word. You can subvert it and everything it represents by ragging its vowels (“revolu-shawn” in “Street Fighting Man”) or its consonants (“Don’t try to d-d-dig what we all say” in “My Generation”) or its rhythm. You can subtract a syllable to hurtle it along like the big events overtaking us (“what’s happ’ning in the USA” in “Tell Somebody (Repeal The Patriot Act)”), or add a syllable to rub its ass in the street like what stinks (“Anarchy in the U. – Kay – ah”).

What would be more deliciously subversive than to slow down one of our civilization’s favorite watchwords for efficiency and speed? As in Living Colour’s “Information Overload”:

“Information Overload”

They say the future is on a mic[uh]ro-chip
Don’t you know we’re all on a sinking ship

Thank you, Living Colour! Now I, too, can say “micuhrochip” to make everyone reset their pace. Back off, all you sellers of apps and tablets!

(I must pronounce it very distinctly, so no one will think I’m also the kind of guy who says “nucular.”)


About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College
This entry was posted in Rock Aesthetics, Words and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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