Arms & Sleepers have a new album, Life is Everywhere, due out next week, and they’re using it to address social and political issues more directly than ever before. Exhibit A is “Grand Theft Finale,” the album’s closing track, and a more somber moment than we’ve seen from the duo in quite some time.
From the controversial cover art and the not-so coincidental day of release, one would imagine “Grand Theft Finale” is a full-on Trump protest, but I think Mirza Ramic and Max Lewis are looking at a bigger picture here. Borrowing samples from John F. Kennedy’s 1963 American University commencement speech, “A Strategy of Peace,” “Grand Theft Finale” is a reminder of our collective humanity and the harmony we should be striving for. The track’s moody melody and plodding percussion are a perfect soundtrack for maintaining hope in the difficult years ahead. Watch the video below, and read along with the full Kennedy quote.
“I have, therefore, chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived. And that is the most important topic on earth: peace. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task…But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable.”
― JFK, June 10, 1963