Human history is fraught with political and military evils, with bombs and guns and fascism and genocide, and really only one type of people have been able to adequately and unapologetically address these horrors: artists. Probably the most controversial of the modern art world’s visionaries was the German artist and war veteran Otto Dix, whose paintings of World War 1 battlefields disturbed, offended, and horrified those who would glorify the military and war without actually engaging the human element of battle, and that’s what made him a historically great artist, and also hated by the conservative leaders in Weimar and later Nazi Germany. Sometimes, art is about what’s hard and scary, and the artists of the music world have, in their own ways, addressed that in uniquely contemporary ways; we’re not talking about overtly garish propaganda songs–forget the aggressively charged military war cries or political propaganda chants; we’re talking political statements as the message behind ART. Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” may be one of the earliest incarnations, with its veiled metaphor of fruit to evoke a vivid image of swinging black bodies during the Jim Crow celebration of anti-black actions, at least in popular culture, but the emergence of 60s folk music as an element of the youth protest movement re-invigorated the courage that Holiday introduced. That protest element has continued with many Rock legends, including Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, as well as newer bands like Rage Against the Machine taking up the cause. Today’s video is in a similar vein, but through subverting a folk classic normally associated with hope and a brighter future to express the sadness and desperation of current times. Minimal but haunting, A Darker Color Bright’s rendition of the Wizard of Oz classic is paired with an equally dark and disturbing video featuring footage of war and carnage from history.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is yet another entirely self-made video by ADCB, raising the question: How much can one person, single-handedly, actually do? ADCBs’ multiple singles and releases of different genres and styles, while somehow keeping an underlined tone, make it apparent that you really can’t predict which direction this project is going.