It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I’m making lists of all the things I am thankful for, as well as the people to whom I am thankful. I am thankful the street artist Banksy for so many things, but among them is this song, which was featured in his recent ‘street art disaster film’ Exit Through the Gift Shop. In many ways, it is perfect song for the documentary, which a tale of mischief, art, opposition to authority, all in good and playful fun, but never failing to recognize the gravity of its message. The song is perhaps a bit childish in its polarized view, presenting a black and white picture of ‘us vs. them,’ ‘we who feel and love vs. they, with nothing in their souls, who seek only to blind us of our vision;’ but this affirmation of youth and fun perfectly represents the power that lies also at the heart of street art, one that reclaims spaces, feelings, and lives once controlled by established authority. We youth shall rise in the night and rejoice in the truth and feeling that we experience and express. The brilliance of this message shines ever brighter as Hawley sings it in an art-pop context, reminiscent of artists like Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello. The heavy use of chorus and soaring strings strikes the listener as dated, even fogey-ish; this juxtaposition further emphasizes the urge to take back the night from those who wish to control and suppress its radical energy.
-Will Darwall, Staff Writer