True Art Eschews Politics Even in the Wasteland

True art eschews politics, and so will I in this post.

By now, I hope you have all had a chance to listen to Riverside’s brilliant new album, Wasteland. It was magnificently reviewed here at Progarchy by Erik Heter and Brad Birzer. This album is beautiful. It is devastating. It is art at its finest.

Just as T. S. Eliot’s masterpiece “The Wasteland” was written in the depths of pain and despair, Riverside’s new masterpiece was written as the band dealt with pain and loss. The 2016 deaths of guitarist Piotr Grudzinski and Mariusz Duda’s father hang heavy over this album, but they do not weigh it down. Rather, they inform its brilliance. Yes, Riverside’s metal moments are here, and Duda does a great job on guitar when needed. But it is the quiet moments that shine like the star Sam and Frodo saw shining through the gloom and dark of Mordor (an allusion I have shamelessly stolen from Brad… and Tolkien).

Much like the recent Oak album, “False Memory Archive,” “Wasteland” embraces the good, the true, and the beautiful. The lyrics are timeless. They get at the what it means to be human. Our lives are filled with happiness, pain, joy, and immense suffering. Riverside don’t hide this fact. They face it head on, and in doing so, they have created true art. Art should move beyond the mundane and fleeting. In 100 years, no one will be remember or be amused by the political ramblings of Roger Waters, Andy Tillison, or Nick Beggs. They will probably remember “Supper’s Ready” and hopefully they will remember “The Underfall Yard” because that song and album deal with issues of lasting importance. “Wasteland” fits into that category. These concepts transcend time. In 1000 years, the lyrics to “The Night Before” will remain relevant.

Close your eyes
Don’t be afraid
I’m with you
This place is safe
We found a camp
We have supplies
They will let us stay the night

Close your eyes
I’ll tuck you in
Mum will sing to make you sleep
Don’t mind the noise
There’re just the bombs
A part of music for this song

When the night begins to fall
You and I
In a safety zone
The former world shall not return
But we’ll survive intact
Again

Embrace beauty and art in music. Reject the ephemeral in favor of the ethereal.

7 thoughts on “True Art Eschews Politics Even in the Wasteland

  1. Just like no one will remember the political musings of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon, etc.

    Right?

    If your politics are so fragile they can’t withstand the scrutiny of Andy Tillison, perhaps you should re-examine your politics.

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    1. Erik Heter

      I wouldn’t call smearing people as Nazis because they have a different opinion on the direction of his country “scrutiny.” He added nothing but bitterness to the discussion.

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      1. Erik Heter

        *Every* person that supported Brexit? *Every* person who had concerns about immigration? *Every* person who had concerns about the non-responsiveness of Brussels and the non-democratic nature of the EU?

        Maybe the parallels are there because people like you and Andy want them to be there, because makes dismissing their concerns so much easier.

        Listening in persuading is hard. Calling people Nazis is easy.

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  2. No one said *every* person, not even Tillison.
    But much of the rhetoric used to support it echoed the past, just like Trump’s rhetoric echoes Nazi tactics of blaming outsider for society’s ills by explicitly demonizing entire groups of people.

    If it wasn’t true, the revelation at the end of the song that Tillison was actually singing about Hitler rather than Brexit and Trump wouldn’t be such a surprise. “What? Who did you think I was talking about?”

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  3. Erik Heter

    Can you point to the portion of the lyrics where Andy made the distinction between those pro-Brexit people that had legitimate grievances and those that were simply Nazis? I missed that part.

    As for the comparison of Trump or pro-Brexiteers to Nazis, fascists, or any of those groups, it’s ludicrous on its face. My mother’s family are defectors from what was then East Germany, and my grandparents were there through the rise of the Nazis, i.e. they were eyewitnesses to the history you believe is being repeated. I’m sure if they were still with us, given all the stuff they told me about those times, they’d roll their eyes at the insinuation that Andy has made and that you so readily support.

    The western world is undergoing political convulsions now because on both sides of the Atlantic we have had a political class that has utterly failed in their duty to represent the interests of the people for whom they are supposed to do so, even going so far as showing severe contempt for the governed (something Andy has done as well with your cheerleading right behind him). Not surprisingly, they have turned to alternate leaders and political structures … and all you and Andy can do is point fingers and liken them to Nazis rather than make a good faith effort in seeking to understand them. So you tell me – in cheerleading Andy and comparing them to Nazis, who is it again that is demonizing a whole group of people? Project much?

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