Big Ups, “Justice”

John Ambrosio

Living as we are in the age of social-media activism and radical chic, everyone knows injustice is bad. The problem is that far fewer recognize the much greater danger of apathy. Four of those who know are the members of Brooklyn post-hardcore band Big Ups, who seem to have coincided the release of the music video for their song “Justice” with the exact moment that America started imploding in on itself (but wisely before things have gone completely Lord of the Flies, so there are still people with internet access to watch).

The song comes from their debut album Eighteen Hours of Static, and in it singer Joe Galarraga vacillates between whispering tirades against complacency like, “Everyone’s so used to being used, that it means nothing on the front page news” and yelling and raving against injustice. During the sections in which he’s frothing at the mouth, Galarraga never explicitly mentions what injustice they’re fighting, choosing instead to distill social angst, class rage, and political malcontent into one anthemic truth: “Everybody says it’s getting better all the time, but it’s bad, still bad.” All the while, funky bass-lines, booming drums, and distorted guitars swell and shrink, matching the song’s anger and intensity.

Specifics in the video are equally hard to pin down. In it, a politician/businessman/possible Bond villain kidnaps and tortures a nosey, intrepid reporter, forcing the bug that lives in his brain to burrow into her face. Or something. There’s also some mind control, some crooked-looking cops, and total big-brother-meets-the-lizard-people vibe. The details aren’t really important, all that matters is that in the last second of the video, the reporter squishes the evil brain bug with her sneakers—justice served, America. Well, the fictional America in this music video, that is.

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