I used to lament that music had, in many ways, lost its most powerful purpose. Of course there is nothing wrong with music being throwaway, a flippant, short shelf life product, designed to take your mind off the working week just gone or to give you something to dance to, to turn a frown upside down. But I always think that if you have managed to get to a place where people listen to what you have to say then you might as well use that platform to say something useful. Not Me. Us proves that a song can fulfil both purposes in equal measure.
In these fractured and divided times, when entrenched and inflexible opinions are lobbed over the ramparts to enrage and entice the enemy into verbal conflict, perhaps it is time to use music again as a way of encouraging debate, of trying to address the idea of unity and the process of dialogue, to at least be the first step of a healing process which only comes from understanding and accepting another position. And Ethan Gold’s song not only does that but does so in the heightened yet compelling way that the likes of John Lennon were so adept at.
Not Me. Us comes from a very liberal place, something seemingly not that popular in the US in these days of fervent climate change denial, aggressive nationalist policy, creeping anti-intellectualism and armed protests on the steps of federal buildings. Ethan Gold’s message is simple, let’s all pull together, let’s all lean on one another, let’s face our problems together. Doesn’t sound so radical does it? Hopefully the sweet and soothing tune that delivers it will mean that people will warm to its message of hope and unity. A simple message, a euphoric tune and a sing-a-long chorus, how can you not love it? How can you not warm to its charms? How can you not follow its gentle and obvious advice? How indeed?