Local Band Republican Hair: Catchy and Unpredictable

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Local Band Republican Hair: Catchy and Unpredictable

Mia Roettger, Editor, Writer

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Nashville-based band, Republican Hair, originally busted into the music scene in 2016 with an ‘80s psychedelic approach to the rock genre. Tackling an abundance of controversial social topics with the songs’ quirky and satirical lyrics, the group attacks social and musical norms in ways that not many other bands have accomplished in modern music.

The frontman, Luke Dick, did not get his start with his current band; rather, he began as a songwriter for multiple country artists, including: Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, and Miranda Lambert. It is disputatious whether or not Luke draws from his country writing in Republican Hair’s soundtracks; however, I see little to no Southern aspects. The band’s lack of a country drawl exhibits both Luke’s talent, being able to both write and perform in a variety of genres, and the anomalousness of a group formed in the capital of country music.

In an interview with NPR, Luke Dick sat down and spoke about the band and the reason for its formation, mentioning that he, “got sick of these lush recordings… and spending four or five days on one single song, and I just decided that what should happen is you write a song and record it in a day.” While information on the rest of the band is rather scarce, each member plays a role in the group that makes it unique like no other.

Sparking attention with a unique song dedicated to The Purple One, Republican Hair reminisces on the songs of a musical legend in “Miss Prince.” In the song, the band references multiple Prince tracks such as “Little Red Corvette,” “1999,” “Purple Rain,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Kiss.” Idolizing the writer after his death in 2016, “Miss Prince” makes it obvious of the love that Luke Dick, and countless other fans, have for the legend that is Prince. Personally, this song was the first spark of interest in this unique and quirky band for me, and I was so hooked that it took some time before I investigated some of their other music. After I did, though, I found yet another dedication song to David Bowie, who also passed in 2016. In contrast to “Miss Prince,” Bowie’s tribute, “Constellation,” did not catch as much attention and is definitely the slowest song I have ever heard from the band. Either way, both of the songs are very nostalgic to two influential and highly missed artists, and they are available in the tribute EP The Prince & the Duke, released in 2017.

While The Prince and The Duke is not the band’s first release, the EP brought a new light to the first album High and Tight, released Oct. 21, 2016. The most popular songs on this album are probably “Don’t Be a Drag,” “Birthday Suit,” and “High and Tight,” which, like most of the band’s songs, are very upbeat and energetic. “Don’t Be a Drag” is a song about having a good time and not killing the vibe. Really, there are not many lyrics to the song, other than “Don’t be a drag,” plus or minus a few other lines. In contrast to the straight forward song mentioned above, “Birthday Suit” carries a much deeper meaning than initially depicted. The second verse of the song goes, “Now it’s put on your pants/Put on your shirt/Put on your tie/Go to work/Keep wondering who I wear it for/Well I ain’t going to wear it anymore/No!” At first the song comes across as nonchalant; however, after a few listens I understood the real message. Tackling that conformity of society, Republican Hair uses the clothes that one puts on to exemplify the masks that people often wear, thus hiding their true selves. When the band sings, “Take it off take it off/Get down to your birthday suit/Who cares who’s watching you?” he does not mean to convey it in the literal sense; instead, the focus lies on getting rid of the mask and showing one’s real self to the world.

Moving back to some of the more satirical aspects of RH’s music, one of their most recent releases, “**** a Bomb,” satirically attacks a serious issue to Luke: war. The song, like most, is very upbeat and catchy, and the music video is even more humorous, with Luke singing as an animated eagle. The inclusion of the eagle in the video, along with the line “Why be a killer, when you can be Steve Miller/And fly like an eagle?” allows increased insight to an artist of Luke’s liking: The Steve Miller Band, and the album Fly like an Eagle. This line is one among many that advocates for the creation of music rather than the nihilism that humanity expresses, especially “**** a bomb, drop a single/**** a name, drop a needle,” needle being the needle on a record player. As a whole, the song primarily calls for peace in the pursuit of war and music’s ability to aid in doing so. All in all, this single is probably my favorite from the band due to the strong message and amusing lyrics.

To close, I would like to describe the band in one word: unpredictable. With incredibly captivating and entertaining performances, quirky lyrics, raspy vocals, and, of course the crazy hair, Republican Hair is a band as original as a cloud in a desert sky. While pretty strange upon the first listen, by the second I am sure you will sing along. Republican Hair, I rate you 4.5/5.

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