“Revelation March” (James Blood Ulmer)

As album’s inside cartoon implies, the revelation that inspires marching toward must escape the orbit of anarchy’s desire—in Sex Pistols’ reference—to resituate the state. The tension in this process of extrication accompanies harmolodic theory’s structured freedom, demanding support as much as it does innovation. Ascending/Descending, downward-sliding, shared pair of doublestops on guitar and bass at beginning lay claim to this commitment, initiating the destabilization of strict rules of instrumentation; for example, bass primarily maintains walking technique while honing in on and, alternately, initiating key changes. Coleman’s reverbed performance stresses revolution’s commitment to the past through its distant (re)incarnation, if only to reinforce the work of transforming so that, like track’s end, dominion emerges through consideration.


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“Ascension Day” (Alphaville)

While others develop, seek out, or endure for a future salvation, what posture should be assumed? The other kinds of engagement build living “nightmares,” ranging from colonization to self-monitoring to sexual quietism. In these “times of terror and pain,” this trax advocates giving in to “temptations” as long (as they last) and stepping on the necks of the “meek.” With so much focus on experience(s), it’s not too much of a stretch to think this will all end badly—with a libertarian bent and superior sneer. There are no border police here, though, and you can “send in” anyone you want to protect hegemony. Being with “fools” and “whores” an antidote to the “torture and fame” of sinning, fueling a life on provisional but indefinitely renewable “dreams.”


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“Road Runner” (Bo Diddley)

Evasion of intersubjective domination through speed. Futurist, in principle. But so long as speed remains calculable (“I’m the fastest in the land”), it provides a platform for exclusivity (“I’ve got to put you down”). Rock as fundamentally a measure of miles-per-hour, without breaking the sound barrier (much less attaining the blur of warp speed).


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“Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)” (The Chocolate Watchband)

The link between the maintenance of the nation and flower power is, to all parties, “broken heart(s)” which lead to one’s “head in the air.” Sneering vocals are in invitation to “design” the future of law, which would be “too late” to account for anybody “belong[ing]” anywhere, especially at love-ins (which only allow for attenuated sympathy).


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“Love of the Common Man” (Todd Rundgren)

What could “turn your head [or ‘world’] around”? It might consist in a professor jumping from their “ivory tower” and joining the masses. (Don’t bet on it.) Our narrator has faith, serves as an intermediary, and knows the mutual imbrication of theory/praxis. Even though the rabble will “catch you” when you descend, they’re purely receptive even when they express their “love”—a requirement for our future constitution. As long as it’s “easy,” everyone can reorient their vision(s). But be advised: just don’t talk “through your hat,” even if you’ve been “living in your pockets.” (Why the latter is seen solely as poverty and linked up with ill-advised attempts at intellectualism is curious, unless you’re a Gramscian.) Pie in the eye. No more living for you today, common man; there’s leadership to (endlessly?) listen to.


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“Rocket” (Smashing Pumpkins)

Limitlessness denied. Similar to ideas from both Nikolas Rose and Jean-Luc Nancy, freedom, which comes with the free disposal of rights, is presupposed by both a State and psy- discipline; the result for singer: he “couldn’t stay free.” The human body becomes a projectile, hurling into celestial emptiness (instead of into another) to be rid of “those voices in my head.” Ingesting love and consuming hate becomes the necessary fuel to attain escape velocity. The catch: “no more lies” assumes that once future being emerges, the true, sovereign subject will materialize. The irony not fully realized—here or there.


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“New World in the Morning” (Roger Whittaker)

Here, it’s preferable to speak of a “new world coming on” rather than a “new world in the morning,” and the difference seems to stop just short of an ideological edict. After all, it seems to be lexical and not conceptual. Things, as they do, get thorny. The narrator’s arrogance—why even sing a song about something so self-evident?—seconded by the testimony of an old man with a decades-old dream: we will banish the diurnal in the name of the cataclysmic. The latter “comes,” and you can sense it. Shed your dreams of change within your serial existence and enter the realm of “thought,” which is divorced from the quotidian and assumes immanence. A possible response could begin with a worry: if yesterday and tomorrow are banished, how could one be mindful of (and ethical toward) difference?


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