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Culture Shock

Blind Uncle Harry-Visualize Industrial Collapse


To many American, liberal, college-attending twenty-somethings, Blind Uncle Harry’s album, entitled “Visualize Industrial Collapse,” adheres to a very popular radical sociopolitical perspective that America is bad, we need to learn to live without it, and the only solution is for everything to fall apart (as is inevitable?). The album title seems to be commanding its listeners to look off into the burning horizon and see America’s future: a crumbling apocalypse of the stock market. And it starts with the “dope smokers.”

In the second song of the album, “Dope Smokers of the World Unite and Take Over,” it is suggested that an industrial collapse is ideal. If everyone were to fulfill the hippy-esque agenda of getting high and just enjoying the small pleasures of life, nobody would pay attention to things like the stock market and extreme conservative political agendas and it would all crumble, leaving us with a paradise of living off the land and getting back to basics. The song is done in a children’s-song sort of way that makes you want to clap along and laugh, but the song does not convey a realistic message. If the intention is to be fun-loving, casual, and somewhat joking, I would say that it could be seen as a success.

The album as a whole has both comedic and serious elements that are conveyed well through an emotionally strong use of instrumentals. Bringing a violin into “I Just Want You to Know” helps to convey the strong message the song presents. The first song utilizes layering of acoustic elements to convey relaxed, beachy themes contrasted with the fact that it is Christmas Day (in Australia)—a fun oxymoron for those of us in the Midwest.

The lyricism was effectively written in order to promote a very specific political agenda. While not relatable to all, the message was strong in many ways and produced alongside the right instrumentals. The harmonies were similarly effective to convey a certain message, but the vocals could have been much more polished. However, in accordance with the “stoner” themes, they work.

It shows that it was a lot of fun for Blind Uncle Harry to produce this album—the band is self-described as “hillbilly hippy haiku folk rock.” Based in Bloomington, IN, they were definitely born in the right place. While I do not feel that the album’s message will ever be a very successful one in regards to, say, actually promoting political change, I do feel that it is important to remember that music is a form of expression. Blind Uncle Harry has utilized it in this way to a full extent, and that is definitely something to be appreciated.


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