And so the election season madness begins: Mitt Romney's campaign has lately been playing “Panic Switch” by Los Angeles band Silversun Pickups at various campaign stops around the country. But the band has issued a cease-and-desist order because -- all together now -- they never asked for permission. According to a press release sent out Wednesday evening, neither the band nor its representatives were contacted, nor does the band have any intention of endorsing the Romney campaign.
Yes, it’s the same old story that we hear every four years, ever since Bruce Springsteen had to tell the Reagan campaign to stop using his “Born In the USA” back in the 1984 campaign. And once again, it's easy to ask: "What were they thinking?"
I like “Panic Switch”; the song has an appealingly twitchy, unsettled quality, and an extremely catchy chorus, which is what I’m sure drew Romney’s folks to it. But did they bother to listen to the words? That chorus is full of anxiety and paranoia:
When you see yourself in a crowded room Do your fingers itch, are you pistol-whipped Will you step in line or release the glitch Can you fall asleep with a panic switch
Unlike "Born In The USA," Silversun Pickups' song title should have been a clear warning sign. In fact, the band apparently thought, briefly, of allowing the Romney campaign to continue using the song. Lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert said in the press release "We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that 'Panic Switch' really sends the message he intends."
John Schaefer has hosted Soundcheck since the show’s inception in 2002. He has also hosted and produced WNYC’s radio series New Sounds since 1982 (“The No. 1 radio show for the Global Village” – Billboard) and the New Sounds Live concert series since 1986.