Staring Into Nothing’s POWER Challenges Status Quo with Rock N’ Roll

With a strong current of social commentary flowing through the songs on the album, Staring into Nothing’s Power blends prog-rock, pop hooks, and certain new wave influences to create a unique rock album that simultaneously has the listener tapping their foot and questioning their reality. In today’s America, questioning everything is something those of us who desire change need to do. Blindly following poor leadership, bad policies, and destructive social structures will lead to certain doom. Stare into Nothing seems to understand this well and they are more than willing to use their art to challenges the systems in place and help to engender change.

The album opens with “Puritans”, a song that challenges the Pharisaical laws and beliefs that permeate the culture due to the influence of the American Evangelical Church. The lyrics cut deep at the heart of the issues that the Church and its hold on the culture perpetuate. Reminiscent of songs like “Jesusland” from Ben Folds and “When the President Talks to God” from Bright Eyes that called out against the Church’s hypocrisy in the George W. Bush era, this song reminds us that 8 years under Obama didn’t break the stronghold and the Evangelical grasp on the American way of life has only tightened.

While my disdain for Common Core isn’t nearly as strong as that of many others, I share a broken heart for a broken education system. The second track on this album, “School Daze”, takes that sharp blade held at the throat of the Church in “Puritans” and turns it towards the American educational system. In a modern take on the classic Pink Floyd cry of “Leave those kids alone”, Staring into Nothing goes hard on imagery of kids being forced to obey and learn only what the system wants them to. Perhaps reality isn’t as harsh as the song paints, but using poetic license to paint a compelling picture of a corrupt system is certainly a powerful and encouraged tool of the artist.

The theme of obeying and submitting to authority is continued with the “Obey”. The song have a groovier, 80s alternative ballad type of feel – think Simple Minds – but packs as heavy a punch lyrically as the previous tracks. With “The Program”, this theme is furthered into discussion of brainwashing through television programming and indoctrination into the “faith” – this particular track seems to echo my own thoughts on the avid watchers of Fox News, who take all that it says as God breathed truth. And the album pushes on with more variations of this theme from track to track.

While the themes of power and control are everpresent, some tracks take specific aims and approaches at the current power structure. One prime example is “Head or Tails” which takes aim at the 1%, touting how our democracy is only for those who shape it – it’s “for the people” but not for all people. The line “democracy’s up for sale” really just says it all.

The album takes aim directly at the war machine, the school to prison pipeline, and all of the ways the government tries to hold its people down. It takes a grand punk rock tradition and presents it more accessible musical style. The less intense musical backdrop also presents the lyrics front and center – there’s not ignoring the message when you listen to this one. In short, folks who don’t like a lot of politics or social messaging in their music need not apply. On the other hand, if you want some rallying cries and you’re willing to let yourself be challenged by lyrical content, this is a great one to dig into.

Keep up with their music and find out where you can grab a copy of this great debut album over at their website, www.staringintonothing.com.

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