american poetry club: do you believe in your heart?!

“Yea we get sad, yeah we get lonely, yeah get scared it might go slowly, but you can always call me”

First of all:


Phew, I feel better now…

New York’s american poetry club, whom you you might have notice me mention a few times, have always seemed both weirdly out of step with wider emotional leanings yet still offering completely timely sentiments. Sometimes the addition of the word ‘American’ in their name leads you to look for commentary on the wider state of their country, even if the lack of capitalisation seems to gently grasp you upper arm and say “Listen, mate, don’t break you back, yeah? It’s a lower case ‘A’, you can’t add too much weight to it. You fucking prick”. Yeah, the implied voice of american poetry club can get pretty aggressive if it wants.

They are a band that deals in positivity, deals in the careful curation of self-esteem and, perhaps centrally, a band that stresses the importance of close and caring communities in the enrichment of individuals’ mental wellbeing. I know, right? Who the fuck are these people? How detached and privileged must they be to have the option of ignoring all the hideousness that’s growing maliciously all around them, like creeping knotweeds that are slithering tightly around people’s necks? You might assume APC are a gallingly apolitical band that have chosen to disengage with the swirling seas around them and not even bothered to tie themselves to the mast as they scoff at any reports that the sea is particularly troubled in the first place. They are not only Nero fiddling while Rome burns, but this Nero also happens to be tapping his foot to a ditty called one day we will both feel fine and good and free! Yeah. You see why capitalisation works?* That last sentence just looks weird.

“Today, is gonna be the day, when they’re gonna throw it back to you…”

(*just to be clear here- capitalisation works. Capitalism absolutely doesn’t, but we’re sadly unlikely to have time for that talk today)

If you’re not angry then you’re not paying attention, ammi right?? If a tree falls in the forest and there was nobody there to hear it, why the fuck weren’t you there loudly and indignantly demonstrating?? Methinks, thou dost not protest enough!! One two, one two, this is not a protest!? I could spend the rest of the day listing off appropriate idioms. Sure, I’d make most of them up, but if anything that just proves the point more- if you’re not apoplectic with rage, you’re practically one of them. Almost twenty years after he (in)famously said, many of us are now in agreement with George W Bush that you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists/frogmen/QAnon Shamen/Duck Dynasties. And the only way you can prove your fealty is to bomb the fuck out of the other side.

To be clear, this isn’t me arguing that political correctness has gone mad, that people are being ‘unfairly maligned’ for their ‘differing perspective’ on fascism and structural racism, I’m not arguing that ‘legitimate viewpoints’ are ‘being silenced’. No. There’s a right and a wrong here. You’re allowed to have ‘viewpoints’ on your favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer season and ‘perspectives’ on the best way to cook sourdough. Climate change, human rights, injustice and bigotry are all facts, a simple 2+2 equation, and if you choose to answer that maths questions with ‘318‘ then we are under no obligation to take you seriously. What I object to is the one accepted mode of response, the one way in which people have to display their displeasure. If you’re not tying yourself into a raging knot of performative disgust then you’re no better than one of those ridiculously camp, overtly macho far right groups with names like 1980s New Romantic bands, like the Proud Boys or Blood & Honour or Painful Entry or Aryan Desire or Sweet Sweet Overcompensation.

But american poetry club are far from an apolitical band. Both the band and their frontperson Jordan C Weinstock are intensely conscious of the less palatable aspects of their namesake country and the world around it, and the music they make isn’t them bashfully clasping their hands over their ears and making noise in order to drown the world out, it’s still protest music. The difference is that APC’s protest concentrates on how important it is that we stand together to cultivate a strong united front. The revolution that the band are calling for relies on the demonstration of community. We are all in this together, we are one, we are beautiful even when we are broken, we are a force to be reckoned with as long as we cultivate and celebrate these connections. This is the protest music they make- we cannot be beaten as long as we ensure we are strong together.

It seems like it would be notable to note that ‘do you believe in your heart?!’ is the first post-Trump APC release, but in reality that barely plays into their mission statement. Sure, his presidency was an absolute plague of hideousness that will remain an embarrassing scar on the history of the United States of America, but APC are far too savvy to start kicking back and assuming all the work is done. Joe Biden isn’t the avenging saviour, he isn’t the magic solution to every problem that the Trump era either highlighted or simply created itself. His presidency will definitely be better than Trump’s simply because it’s hard to think of any way it could possibly be worse, save immediately declaring nuclear war on both Mexico and Canada then issuing presidential pardons to Rodney Alcala, Dennis Rader, David Berkowitz, Harvey Weinstein, Joe Exotic and (most chillingly) Donald Trump. However, he is still very much part of the old elite who’s inability to connect with swathes of voters lead to the reign of Trump in the first place, and APC are savvy enough to realise that the reason Trump got in in the first place was because things stunk, and potentially reverting to how things used to be is no real solution.

And their new album deals in the same positivity they have always manged to successfully evoke. It’s a barely 10 minute reminder of what side we’re all on, and how people power always has the chance to stand tall as long as it stands together. It’s a legitimate form of protest, and a protest that’s far from being over.

Hey, it’s a short album, so it’s a short review! I can do short reviews sometimes, you know?? My Level 2 OISC exam is on the 25th, then sometime soon after that you’re getting your 2020 Legit Bosses, then the 2020 statistical breakdown, then a very special list which is obviously pandering to my biggest audience.

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