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Handlebars

Photo+from+Wikimedia+Commons
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Nick Irwin, Online Editor

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Even though the Flobots have been producing music for the past thirteen years, they seem to have only found success in 2007’s Fight with Tools, the group’s debut album. Handlebars was the first single of Fight With Tools.

Handlebars has a composition mirror’s the duality presented in story told by the lyrics. The song features Jamie “Johnny 5” Laurie for most of the vocals, with Brer Rabbit joining for the later verses. The general structure of the song bears resemblance to both alternative hip-hop and alternative rock, though the song is also backed with a trumpet and viola, giving it an orchestrated feel.

The lyrics themselves tell the story of a person who pushes themselves in hopes of feeling the thrill of peak performance from a young age. The first lines describe a fairly universal experience by saying “I can ride my bike with no handlebars”. This hook allows the listener to instantly relate to the type of feeling that the narrator is chasing.

The narrator goes from describing childhood accomplishments such as “I can take apart the remote control and I can almost put it back together” to more extreme and questionable accomplishments like “I know how to run the business/and I can make you wanna buy a product,”

As the narrator becomes more controlling, they eventually begin to lead his nation with an iron grip. “I can do anything with no assistance cause/ I can lead a nation with a microphone,” The narrator’s intellectual prowess leads to them discovering how to create nuclear weapons and turn the nation into a dystopian superstate. “My cause is noble, my power is pure/ I can hand out a million vaccinations/ Or let e’m all die in exasperation/ Have em all killed by assassinations/ I can make anybody go to prison/ Just because I don’t like ’em,” The narrator ends his story by describing how they can obliterate anyone who opposes him, since they can guide missiles by satellite, hit targets through telescopes, and end the world in a holocaust if they so desire. The song then returns to describing the thrill of riding bikes with no handlebars, closing the circle of human development.

Overall, Handlebars is a catchy song that tells a story that all humans can relate to. The song inspires both dread and confidence in me, and I recommend everyone listen to it if they get a chance.

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