Jeff Rosenstock has released a video for the latest song from his excellent new LP NO DREAM, “Scram.” The bouncy song is pure pop-punk perfection, which belies the darker socio-political message hiding in plain sight. “Scram” hits home for those who have tried to engage with folks that have hardline stances on, at this point, literally everything. “I’ve been told for most my life / try to see the other side / by people who have never tried to / see the other side” Rosenstock sings in the second verse before erupting into the passionate chorus.
As the music video director Teenage Stepdad states, “I strongly identified with the lyrics, the idea being that the very worst people are the ones telling you the loudest what to do and how to think.” Along with the upbeat song, the lyric video takes on the form of someone flipping through the channels on their TV, with Rosenstock posing as a TV anchor and other members of his band playing along with the music while posing in phony commercials and marketing campaigns. “A lot of what I do as an artist is take all the commercial and advertising imagery and marketing techniques I’ve been forced to consume since I was a kid, and repackage them into something that subverts the bullshit worldview they represent,” he added. “So part of this video is that, flipping through the channels and seeing old promo formats used to sell soda and cars and vacations turned into something else. The rest of the video is inspired by this moment, by the millions of people no longer asking for change but demanding it.”
“I started writing ‘Scram!’ after being inspired by the kids from Parkland High standing up to the behemoth that is the gun lobby,” said Rosenstock. “The last four years (and let’s be honest, my entire life) have felt like we are up against an unconquerable force of evil that thrives on violence and inequality. It was a rare bright spot to see thousands of people say ‘Hey, we’re gonna be able to vote in the next election, and we are going to vote you the fuck out.’ It was also inspired by the other side – the politicians and lobbyists who promote regressive policies that perpetuate the consolidation of power to the super rich at the expensive of everyone else’s lives – having the audacity to demand ‘civility’ from students who have watched their classmates get murdered and are tired of going to school in fear. Fuck that. Capitalism is the root of greed is the root of violence. You have bought your control, but more and more people are starting to see through that. I wanted to write a song that felt like a ‘Fuck you, your days are numbered’ to the powers that be.”
While the video is pretty lighthearted considering the heavy lyrical themes, it does take a more radical political approach during the final seconds of the song. The television, which was up until this point not visibile, begins flying through space into the earth’s atmosphere, smashing obvious relics to white supremacy like Stone Mountain in Georgia or right wing ideology like the NRA offices, as well as symbols of inequality like a corporate office, Wall Street and along the way, takes out some other well-known structures like the White House, Mount Rushmore and the Washington Monument.
While the video was made recently, what’s so incredible about the song “Scram” itself is that it was obviously written before the most recent social unrest that’s occuring in nearly every big American city. The lyrics, which flash across the screen probably feel particularly relevant to anyone who’s attempted to engage the Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter crowd: “Everything you say is to make me feel stupid / Everything you say is to make me feel bad / Everything you say is a distraction.”
Rosenstock recently performed a live stream concert on Instagram, with viewers paying two dollars to request a song. He’ll be continually playing shows for a streaming audience. Today at 2 PM EST he’ll play a set for Pitchfork and on July 25th he’ll live stream a set for Fader Fort.