The alternative rock band, the Silversun Pickups, got a lot of unwanted exposure for their song “Panic Switch” this month. The band recently told the Mitt Romney campaign to stop playing their song at events. Rolling Stone reports that the band sent a cease-and-desist order to the campaign demanding they pull the song from events after it was discovered the song had been played during a setup for a campaign event. As singer and guitarist Brian Aubert told reporters this week:
We don’t like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don’t like the Romney campaign… We’re nice, approachable people. We won’t bite. Unless you’re Mitt Romney! We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that ‘Panic Switch’ really sends the message he intends.
Aubert makes a fantastic final point there. The lyrics reflect a relationship based on control, manipulation and identity. One line reads, “Could I be anything you want me to be, It’s always meant to be seen.” Maybe the Romney campaign was secretly admitting that the whole thing is an act? The chorus is particularly ironic as part of the Romney campaign:
When you see yourself in a crowded room, Do your fingers itch, are you pistol-whipped? Will you step in line or release the glitch? Can you fall asleep with a panic switch?
At any rate, the Associated Press reports that the Romney spokespeople confirmed the song will not be played at any more events. Andrea Saul, spokesperson for Romney told reporters, “As anyone who attends Gov. Romney’s events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally… That said, it was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license, but we will not play it again.”
The band originally heard about the song’s use after it was played at a setup for a Romney event in North Carolina. The Silversun Pickups’ publicist doubts that the song was actually legally covered for use. The debate reflects the often conflicting uses of pop culture and music in political campaigns.
This most recent disagreement is particularly entertaining in light of the song’s lyrics and the band’s reaction. Even Romney’s spokesperson seemed a little thrown by the choice of song at the event, embarrassed that such a snog would even be featured at the faux-centrist’s event. Everyone wins this round since the song was already played once ironically and it has now been pulled from the lineup indefinitely.
Photo Credit: Flickr, Brian Teutsch