When Desaparecidos released their debut album, American political music was more or less targeted in a particular direction— towards the president. That album, Read Music / Speak Spanish, was released in 2002, shortly after 9/11, and was highly critical of the Bush regime although it didn’t necessarily mention him or his cabinet members forthright. Songs on the album dealt with various issues that plague America, primarily immigration and the expansion of corporate consumerism.
Although the band attracted a large following, mostly because Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst was behind the mic, they split up shortly after the release of their debut album. When they finally reunited last year, the shape of the political landscape in the United States had been drastically altered. The Tea Party, Occupy and Anonymous are all political groups with significant impact that emerged during Desaparecidos’ absence. And with a Democratic president in office, the group’s cries for a more left-leaning way of operating weren’t quite as resonant.
The band recently released two new songs, and both of them directly address the new political situation within the United States. One of the tracks is entitled “Anonymous,” and it’s about the aforementioned hacking group. Oberst yells “We are legion!”— one of the Anonymous slogans— at one point during the song, and the chorus is the repeated phrase “You can’t stop us, we are Anonymous!” It appears as if this time around the artist is aligning himself more closely with a specific political movement.
The other song that the band released is entitled “The Left Is Right,” and it deals with the Occupy movement. Oberst’s penchant for lyricism emerges most noticeably on this track, with lines like “the 60s proved that change is hit or miss / every bloody pacifist conceives the truth / if one must die to save the 99 / maybe it’s justified / the left is right.” That would sound like a rallying cry for battle, if it weren’t followed by the artist yelling “we’re doomed!” a few times.
The two tracks are going to be available as a 7” single on March 12th. You can listen to the songs via Rolling Stone.