Romney Campaign Hits The Panic Switch, And It Hits Back

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And so the election season madness begins: Mitt Romney's campaign has lately been playing “Panic Switch” by Los Angeles band Silversun Pickups at various campaign stops around the country. But the band has issued a cease-and-desist order because -- all together now -- they never asked for permission. According to a press release sent out Wednesday evening, neither the band nor its representatives were contacted, nor does the band have any intention of endorsing the Romney campaign.

Yes, it’s the same old story that we hear every four years, ever since Bruce Springsteen had to tell the Reagan campaign to stop using his “Born In the USA” back in the 1984 campaign. And once again, it's easy to ask: "What were they thinking?"

I like “Panic Switch”; the song has an appealingly twitchy, unsettled quality, and an extremely catchy chorus, which is what I’m sure drew Romney’s folks to it. But did they bother to listen to the words? That chorus is full of anxiety and paranoia:

When you see yourself in a crowded room
Do your fingers itch, are you pistol-whipped
Will you step in line or release the glitch
Can you fall asleep with a panic switch

Unlike "Born In The USA," Silversun Pickups' song title should have been a clear warning sign. In fact, the band apparently thought, briefly, of allowing the Romney campaign to continue using the song. Lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert said in the press release "We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that 'Panic Switch' really sends the message he intends."