Album: Hard Rain Falling
I always enjoy bands and musicians who have more to say with their music than the average songs about love and loss, and instead choose to address issues that we all struggle with. Some artists even use music to tackle political problems, like much of the music of the 1960s, and this type of music has come to be known as protest music. However, some bands take protest music a touch too far and use music as their own personal political platform while forgetting the fundamentals of musical composition and the aims of entertaining listeners. D.O.A.’s latest album Hard Rain Falling comes across more like a political agenda. In fact, it is obvious that the band is more interested in shoving their opinions down listeners? throats than making good music. The result is a boring album that comes across as condescending, and the generally feel from their music and attitude is that either you agree with the band’s views or you are wrong. Moreover, recognizing that band front man Joe Keithley ran last year “for the BC Green Party in Coquitlam, BC this fall for the office of MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly)” (http://www.suddendeath.com) it is obvious that the band is more focused on being rebels, challenging authority, and forwarding their own political ideals than making good music.
Considered “Canada’s legendary Punk Kings” (http://www.suddendeath.com/music-collection/D/6-doa), D.O.A. has been going for almost 25 years. Since their founding in 1978, D.O.A. has been travelling the globe performing live and challenging many political and environmental issues through their music. D.O.A. has released many albums over the years, and Hard Rain Falling was released in August last year after the band’s Kickstarter Campaign to help pay for the production and recording of the album.
The music on Hard Rain Falling is punk rock and the sound is loud and intense. The overall sound reminds me of Dropkick Murphys, but D.O.A.’s lyrics and approach are entirely unique.
There is nothing that appealed to me on this album. Although I applaud D.O.A.’s attempt at challenging issues like racism, environmentalism, war, and gangs, the music is harsh and grating. The lyrics are equally unmelodious and jarring, resulting in music that I simply just ignored after a couple of minutes.
Having taken several psychology courses at Athabasca University, especially PSYC 315 Psychology and the Mass Media, I know all too well how we as mass media users process controversial messages. Some researchers have found that when the public is presented with messages that require action the hardest approaches to work effectively is framing a persuasive message in a negative tone or by appealing to fear (Harris 115). Often times people who listen to a controversial message that requires some part of action on the recipient’s part, the message is lost if it is conveyed in a negative tone or if it invokes fear (Harris 115).
I found no entertainment value in D.O.A.’s music, nor was I inspired to take action on the issues that they addressed with their music. Overall, Hard Rain Falling is an album that I will not listen to again.
Harris, Richard Jackson. A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication. 5th ed. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.
Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.