20/20 Vision | Review


Debbie Stebens | Sun, 1 Mar 2020


Since their beginnings in the late 80s/early 90s, Anti-Flag have worn their political beliefs on their sleeve, and this album is no different. The first of 11 songs, ‘Hate Conquers All’, opens with a bang:  an excerpt from an infamous Donald Trump speech in which he calls for protestors to be beaten like ‘in the good old days’. It immediately sets the scene for the rest of the album: this is an anti-Trump zone.  Although Anti-Flag had previously stated that they did not want to take aim at any specific people with their music and keep their protesting more general, it is clear from one look at the cover of 20/20 Vision that they’ve broken this rule.

At the beginning of the new year and with the presidential elections on the horizon, this album couldn’t have come at a better time. In the words of the band’s vocalist and bassist, Chris #2, the record is a statement against Trump’s ‘racist, islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic and bigoted’ policies. It’s a call for us to ‘be in the streets daily, demanding an end to racial, social and economic injustice’. So, if you feel the same anger and frustration at recent developments around the world as I do, this album is for you.

It is, however, not all bleak: ‘20/20 Vision’ and ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down’ have a more hopeful tone to them and you can feel the band’s hymn to save things,  by banding all together. With the sentence ‘No one is free until the war is won’, they state that we cannot stop fighting for change until everyone is treated equally and there is ‘No more hate, no division’. While that is all well and good, there is a sense of urgency in ‘Un-American’ that this change needs to come about sooner rather than later.

A personal favourite  is ‘Christian Nationalist’, a song which aims at the far-right wing movement, at white nationalism, neo-Nazism, fascism and warns about the dangers of a theocracy – definitely a nod to right-wing claims that Trump is ‘heaven sent’. ‘You Make Me Sick’ is an excellent musical outlet for your frustrations at Trump.

All in all, there is a good balance between urgency and despair, and hope and positivity, and the album ends on an up note with ‘Resistance Frequencies’. The questions remains, ‘which side are you on?’ – Anti-Flag are quite clear on their stance.

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