Produced by

Romney Campaign Hits The Panic Switch, And It Hits Back

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 11:49 AM

Silversun Pickups' song 'Panic Switch' has recently been played on Mitt Romney's campaign stops. Silversun Pickups' song "Panic Switch" has recently been played on Mitt Romney's campaign stops. (Autumn Dewilde)

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." 


More in:

Comments [6]

Right Wing Music Lover from Pottsville, Pa

This story bothers me because it points to the intolerance of this group the Silversun Pickups. The story goes that some DJ played the song during the set up of a Romney rally. The fact that a Republican might listen to their obscure song bothered them so much that they had to have their lawyer send an obnoxious cease and desist letter to the Romney campaign. I am sure the band operates in such a cocoon of like thinking friends that is would never occur to them that many people don't think like them and that is OK, it is called diversity and it is what makes this country special.

Aug. 16 2012 09:22 PM
Born in the USA from Detroit

Okay my liberal friends. Throw your darts. This is only a story on liberal fronts like "Public" radio. Yep, I said it. :) As long as we're taking shots at each other, liberals need to stop promoting the killing of American children. And now you may throw fruit at me... Ready? Aim?...

Aug. 16 2012 05:21 PM
rose from maplewood

If their choice of music is this off, what about their choices for what really matters? What were they thinking???? They are not. Scheming, plotting, planning, but thinking? Are they trying to appeal to the young republicans out there? If so this is not the band for them.
Is there anything about the band, song or video that screams republican? I think not.
It is just one more reason to be afraid of these guys. They speak, do and act without thinking it all through. What is the impact of your actions? What will be the reaction? That should be how decisions are made.

Aug. 16 2012 01:44 PM
Heywood Jablowme from USA

Stupid republicorns just don't get it when it comes to music.
It's about the melody AND the lyrics - you gotta understand the message.
That means actually listening and comprehending and apparently that's
Just too much work. From Born in the USA to Panic Switch and including
Enlisting Stephen Colbert to host one of their RNC events - not understanding
That Colberts act is harsh satire of their party....
They are all out of touch and out of tune with this country and this
World - and they want to lead us backward to ruin

Aug. 16 2012 12:45 PM

I suppose if right-wing politicians want theme music, they should seek out more right-leaning musicians, but really, how many times can you listen to 'Cat Scratch Fever'...

Aug. 16 2012 12:33 PM
Steven from Atlanta

Show us your taxes Mr. Romney. I can't hear anything else you have to say until you do. What are you trying to hide from us?

Aug. 16 2012 12:25 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.


About The Soundcheck Blog

Get hot takes and deep dives from John Schaefer and the rest of the Soundcheck crew, as fast as sound travels.