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Rusty Reid - American Villain (Rio Paso Music)

28 January 2024

I probably said as much when writing about his previous single, the brilliantly titled “The United States of Selfishness,” that, given how dark and increasingly dangerous a path humanity seems to be heading down, we were lacking in musical commentators to raise concerns. In the past, whole movements have arisen from such times: 60s folk protests against Vietnam, punks’ response to a general sense of disenfranchisement, and hip-hop’s birth from a time of social discontent are just some examples. Rock and roll itself was founded on a reaction to the post-war expectations of the previous generation.

So where are they today? No musical movements seem to be forming, no artistic responses to the widening gap between us and them, no creative activists trying to break this entrenched political state of affairs. But there are a few lone voices in the wilderness, voices like Rusty Reid.

And if the previous song was a general call to embrace a more understanding and caring society, then this time out, he has gone full-on political. But what is excellent about Reid’s approach is that far from trying to hit you over the head with his ideas, something that would be self-defeating and only serves to alienate anyone on the opposite side of the argument, he delivers his thoughts calmly and respectfully.

Now, I’m writing this from across the water, and I wouldn’t attempt to tell citizens of another country how to think or vote, especially given the current state of my own homeland’s governmental affairs. Still, Reid makes a valid point, many valid points. Popularist politicos are never a good thing (again, the UK is going through its crises with this), but indeed the things that Trump (if you hadn’t guess who the villain of the title is) does and says, the numerous indictments (more than ninety at the time of writing), the number of his last administration barred from office or who served a hard time, the Capitol Hill riot and five deaths…is that a price worth paying? Does that sound like someone who serves your best interests?

With the media as entrenched as everyone else, voices like Reid seem to be an oasis of simple opinion in a desert of hate and rage.