American singer-songwriter Ben Folds has released a new song entitled “Mister Peepers,” dedicated to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for the Washington Post’s “alternative storytelling issue.” This folk-inspired track tackles Rosenstein’s disputes with Republican lawmakers over the Russia investigation.
“Mister Peepers” is in reference to the US President Donald Trump’s reported nickname for Rosenstein, due to the attorney’s glasses. Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who had previously been the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) to investigate the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The track is laden with lyrics that reference Rosenstein, the larger Trump administration and the current Russian investigation. “So they call him Mister Peepers/Send some thugs to smash his glasses/If he’s gone and peeped the wrong thing/Then they’ll burn his name to ashes,” Folds’ sings during the bridge, implying that Rosenstein is in a a difficult position regarding what information he can reveal.
This is further elaborated by the singer’s commentary regarding the track, as explained that we was interested in Rosenstein ” “because of the personal position he’s been put in and the position that we’re in at these crossroads, where we find ourselves deciding to stick up for our norms — or not.”
Folds was paired with a Washington Post reporter who updated him on the Mueller’s Russia probe during the songwriting process for the publication. “Folds was interested in our idea of combining journalism with pop music, and it was new territory for him as well as us,” the Washington Post explained.
The Washington Post project included a variety of other media forms, including a Betsy DeVos board game, made from the eponymous and controversial Secretary of Education and the anti-fracking poem “Amity and Prosperity,”by Eliza Griswold. This format was used to analyze nine different story subjects by using journalism blended with a form that is typically unconventional for most media outlets.
Folds has been put under political scrutiny by Republicans recently due to his performance at a fundraiser for democratic senate candidate Phil Breseden, who was formerly the governor of Tennessee. Despite this criticism Folds has performed for both Republican and Democratic candidates to promote arts education.
In addition to his work as an advocate for the arts, he has served as the Artistic Advisor to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The Kennedy Center states that, “Folds is widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation. For over a decade he’s shared the stage with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, performing his pop hits and critically acclaimed concerto for Piano and Orchestra.”
This latest track isn’t the first time that Folds has stepped into the political arena however, in 2010 he titled a song “Levi Johnston’s Blues,” in reference to Bristol Palin’s former boyfriend, pornography centerfold and father of Tripp Palin; Levi Johnston. The reference points out the Palin’s hypocrisy regarding their support for abstinence only education and anti-abortion stances.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna