From the Vaults

Talk Like That Might Limit Your Lifespan: Politics at the precipice in “One Day as a Lion”

one-day-as-a-lion-albumONE DAY AS A LION – One Day as a Lion (Anti EP ’08): A great match for talents between Rage Against the Machine’s rager-in-chief Zack de la Rocha and ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore that unfortunately never spat up anything more than this undervalued gem of an EP. Between Theodore’s twenty-minute adrenaline rush of jungle drums and de la Rocha’s keyboards blurting sirens of police state ascension, this is militant protest music meant to make people flood the streets. In it, de la Rocha rails against police brutality, Miranda-less arrests, the Iraq War, the 1%, and any other target of far-left ire, a cacophony of crashing cymbals and sneering snares and wailing alarms pulsing alongside him.

Some historical context does the EP some favors. It came in the summer of ’08 as the Bush administration careened towards its disastrous end, and as a college student of leftist persuasion I dug it quite a bit (all the while never being a huge RAtM fan). Looking back on it eight years later, I can’t say I wouldn’t be slightly distressed if I heard a rightwing equivalent of de la Rocha, though that would be something more fascistic. And to that point, maybe the most disconcerting element about this EP is that I’m not sure whether de la Rocha knows the fascistic ties the quote so dear to him holds. He’s so antiwar and antiestablishment that you’d have to do serious mental gymnastics to accuse him of fascist sympathies, though he tells the listener “If you fear dying then you’re already dead,” which however you want to spin it is a little bit more than suggesting you ought to be ready to die for your beliefs. And I’d like to call the use of the quote ironic, but the final line is “And when our cubs grow we’ll show you what war is good for,” and never mind that de la Rocha takes himself so seriously as to be completely humorless. At best, One Day as a Lion is in the same vein as poor-in-taste punk names like Joy Division and New Order. At worst, it’s an answer to your question of what Noam Chomsky would sound like as a radical poet. A MINUS

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