If the world worked the way it should, Bad Moves would be crushing FM radio with their approachable pop-punk songs. The supergroup featuring the Max Levine Ensemble’s David “Spoonboy” Combs, Katie Park of Hemlines, Daoud Tyler-Ameen of Art Sorority for Girls and Emma Cleveland of Bad Moves are back with “Cool Generator”, the lead single from their upcoming full length album on Don Giovanni Records. The band has a lot to say about the lyrical content of this song:
We’ve often introduced this song as being about how the art and fashion produced by marginalized people, people of color and queer people specifically, are the source material most often appropriated by the mainstream entertainment industry. And yet, those communities themselves are the most likely to be at risk — of poverty, police violence, mental illness, et cetera.
The New York Times Popcast did a great interview recently on the subject of rap stars being targeted by the criminal justice system, which gets at some of the same ideas that originally inspired us. Kenneth J. Montgomery, a criminal laywer, talks about the entertainment narrative of the “young black dangerous guy,” and he says, “Everybody benefits off of that, except the people that generate it.” Basically, there are cultural producers who are happy to profit off of a criminalized version of black identity for its entertainment value, while doing nothing to protect those cultural generators from a system that disproportionately targets them.
As far as synthesizing that complicated social dynamic into the lyrics of a power-pop party jam, we did our best. It’s a song about how certain people take the markers of culture and benefit from them without being put at risk, and how, when we consume a commoditized version of culture uncritically, we ignore the social precarity of the people who generate it in the first place.
Watch the VHS-grade music video courtesy of the multi-talented Combs and make plans to catch their post-SXSW tour kickoff show at Union Stage on April 18th.