Various - Rock Against Bush Vol 2 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Rock Against Bush Vol 2 (2004)

Fat Wreck Chords

I'm getting pretty sick and tired.

I'm sick of hearing that entertainers shouldn't express political opinions; I'm tired of hearing that actors should stick to acting and comedians should stick to comedy. I'm sick of hearing that musicians should stick to music and stay out of politics.

And I'm tired of hearing that dissent is unpatriotic.

I certainly don't recall the chorus of Republicans when their greatest president went from making movies co-starring monkeys to the White House. I don't remember them saying that when country singers were stumping for them. I don't remember them saying that when comedians were playing homophobe on their behalf.

Well, maybe Fat Mike got sick of that too, and unlike me, he has a record label, a bunch of musician friends, a dog and I think he's having a baby; all of whom will probably vote Kerry/Edwards in November. And I imagine he hopes you will too.

Even the apolitical would have the admire the list of bands he has lining up to this end. The first Rock Against Bush had an impressive list of contributers, and one could expect that the second would end up being a collection of leftovers; a B-sides compilation even. But, thankfully, the second volume of the compilation is at least the equal of its predecessor. Opening strong with an great unreleased track from Green Day, and including downright classics like Operation Ivy's "Unity" and Jawbreaker's "Chesterfield King", the track listing fails to disappoint. The list of strong contributions continues with the inclusion of the Foo Fighters covering the Angry Samoans, the Lawrence Arms crackling track, and a strong donation from the always impressive Hot Water Music.

There are certainly some less than perfect tracks, like the disappointing rendition of a Lagwagon staple by Yellowcard, or the inclusion of a few too many previously released tracks, both in the form of album tracks and some fairly pedestrian live versions. These small missteps serve to dull a little of the shine on the disc, though not fatally. And of course, who could forget the lack of a track from Propagandhi, who certainly had something to say (even if they're completely wrong about he causes of the East Asian crisis.)

Still, any weaknesses in the music are certainly overcome by a stronger DVD presentation this time around which features a greater variety of material. While the music videos don't really carry as much weight - it's pretty hard to top Bad Religion and Strike Anywhere for talent or political muscle - the addition of a diverse range of political pieces and some comedy sketches certainly compensate for any shortcomings there. Take the sharp and biting "campaign commercial" courtesy of Will Ferrell and ACT which actually manages to be funnier in it's scant few minutes than Ferrell's last film.

While this second compilation certainly doesn't surpass the first in terms of sheer volume of material, the addition of a greater variety of music and DVD content certainly makes for an entertaining and fun slice of political activism. Considering that liberals and democrats are often pigeonholed as an opposing bunch of stuffy academics and pot smoking neo-Marxists, Punk Voter's centrist and inclusionary approach is quite admirable. Insofar as the record purports to be "Against Bush," it is important to remember that the record also stands for something as well; Mike and Punkvoter have managed to unite a diverse range of people into a coherent cause and both that diversity of artists and diversity of opinion is well-represented here.

So, despite the kids who think that he should just shut up, Mike isn't listening; he's not listening to those who won't vote, but bitch anyway. He's not listening to the kids who cut and paste GOP talking points on punk websites. He actually did something and put his money and his mouth and his friendships into something he believed in and frankly, what is more patriotic than that?