TRACK FEATURE: 'Crisis' by Worker & parasite
Worker & Parasite want you not to panic. Despite the clear reason to be alarmed (although personally, I am VERY good at freaking out), everything is going to be okay. After being recently authorised by Chairman [redacted] to supply ‘party music for the proletariat’, their debut single Crisis is a statement to the people that everything is under control.
Worker & Parasite want your attention. They reassure you that they will get to the bottom of this, finding the culprit behind the virus and finding a cure for it. I mean, we always need someone else to blame, even if no one is at fault. It puts us at ease to point the finger. The track is carried by punchy synth melodies, drawing on influences from 80’s rhythms and raw spoken word vocals. It covers the topic of the present COVID crisis, which they recorded while in quarantine in April during the first lockdown. The lyrics are a statement, mapped out like a political press conference, outlining the common questions of the current pandemic: “Did China create this virus to talk over the world?” and “Is this virus a way of the liberals to undermine President Trump and force him out of office?” You know, reasonable journalistic questions.
In saying that, it is all a front. There is every reason to panic, and Crisis holds a secret message underneath the reassurance.
Lyrically, this song is tremendously astute. It is a lot of listening to, which honestly, feels like the daily press conferences we have listened to daily for months on end. This perfectly encapsulates that. The emphasis on parts of the song using the backing vocals and the beat shrouds your mind on the rest of the lyrics, causing your selective memory to kick in. Is this a metaphor for the media and how they select certain things to emphasis on and feed on the fear created in doing so? It could be. If it is, it’s fucking amazing and I love it.
The track at its core is unpacking the global political reaction to the coronavirus. The music is cleverly constructed, using a martial drumbeat, feeling like you are being forced in a march along to the song, like a mindless soldier. The subtle minor chord progression and the synth used on the track, although funky and easy to groove along to, has this underlying sense of apprehension. It is frantic and dissonant. Air raid sirens going off augment this sense of disarray, simply because they are associated with scenes of terror and alarm. This feel of militaristic principles starts to bleed into the lyrics as well, thanking the frontline workers for the necessary sacrifice, like foot soldiers in a war.
Overall, this track encapsulates the pandemic. The war between political parties, which country is “winning” the war against the virus, and who is to blame for this shitstorm (for a lack of a better word). The smashes a whole bunch of information at you at once, causing you to feel overwhelmed and anxious, and satirises our leaders for how they have performed (or failed to) in these circumstances.
I tried to reach out to Worker & Parasite to talk about their single, but after sending a few emails to the Ministry of Social Cohesion, I quickly received a threatening letter in my letterbox asking me to stop asking questions. I also saw two guys in suits watching me from across the street, but that may have been a coincidence. I have spent most of the lockdown slamming the Liberal party on Twitter, I would consider me a threat too if I was them.