Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 93

a heavily armed police state, in which drones hunt and kill, tanks roll through the streets, body-armored police execute pedestrians with explosive head-shots. Mustaine notes of the virtual reality animated videos: I’m really exited about this. I don’t know anybody else who has done virtual reality performances in metal . . . I thought it would be really cool to show this, where you don’t have a particular antagonist. You don’t have somebody to be the bad guy just because he’s a bad guy, but somebody who could be so innocuous that he could be anything. He could be an arms dealer. He could be a human trafficker. He’s the bad guy. And Vic [Rattlehead] and this person, he’s the person who is gonna be the cyborg who is on the cover [of the album] with the metal Mohawk. That’s Vic’s sidekick who ends up fighting through the videos. 12 Several critics have noted that Mustaine’s lyrics are offensively xenophobic; 13 Mustaine, meanwhile, shirks the responsibility of the political mantle on this album, saying: It’s funny that you bring this up because it became clear to me several years ago that when you start talking about politics, you immediately divide your audience in half. And what in the beginning was, you know, quite tongue- in-cheek, kind of one-liner stuff started to, unfortunately, define me as a songwriter, and now people think that I’m a political songwriter, which I’m not. In fact, we write about all kinds of different things, but looking at the landscape right now, these are really, really crazy [times]. Look at, like you said, the natural disasters — everything that’s going on, the inability for anyone just about anywhere to get along, and it just makes you wonder, “How did we become so devolved?” It’s like the Decline of Western Civilization part three. 14 A brief sweep of the track listing, however, betrays a heavy interest in contemporary politics: “The Threat Is Real,” “Dystopia,” “Post American World,” and “Foreign Policy” (a cover originally written by the band Fear) are a few more overt examples of the heavy influence of current events on the album. It’s undeniable that the animated film videos to accompany the first released tracks 12 Childers, Chad, “Megadeth Continue ‘The Threat is Real” Story with ‘Dystopia’ Video,” Loudwire, 21 January 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2017. http://loudwire.com/megadeth-dystopia-video/. 13 Aspray, Benjamin, “Megadeth: Dystopia, Slant Magazine, 22 January 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2017. https://www.slantmagazine.com/music/review/megadeth-dystopia. 14 Full Metal Jackie, “Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Not a Political Songwriter: ‘We Write About All Kinds of Different Things,” 20 October 2017. Loudwire. Retrieved 04 December 2017. http://loudwire.com/ megadeth-dave-mustaine-not-political-songwriter/. 93