I hear more and more people in the modern creative climate say that music has no place trying to be political. I say that is often the best use for it. It is easy to trace a line forward from medieval troubadours singing their analogous stories, through the marching songs of soldiers, the rallying chants of unions, the 60’s protestors and the punk firebrands who followed. Today? Not so much seems to be happening on that front as modern musicians settle down to careers guided by marketing departments and TV moguls. The same may be said of the art of satire, its silly yet insightful nature replaced by comedians making mundane observations of the world around them but forgetting to actually make a point or deliver a punchline. What’s that all about?
Thankfully, the wonderfully named Radioactive Isotopes are rich in both traditions and what on the surface may seem like a strange little nursery rhyme of a song is actually a delivery system for a very serious message. Mutually assured destruction being, in the grand scheme of things, quite high up on many peoples list of things to be concerned about, that and if your favourite character will survive the next season of Game of Thrones! And like all the best satire it is non-threatening, funny…silly even, it pokes fun, it seems innocuous and childlike. But deconstruct its slightly retro-pop whimsey and lilting sing-a-long charm and you find something as powerful as any Pentagon speech or political rally, it is just done in a way that engages you and lulls you into joining in. Once The Radioactive Isotopes have got you singing along, you are part of the conversation and it is a conversation which needs to be had amongst more people, more often and more vigorously and if it takes a quirky, satirical pop song to make that happen then The ‘Topes should be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize, or at least some sort of arts grant!