Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Flobots - Handlebars

Some things you should know about this song: 1. It's hip-hop. 2. It's actually a few years old, but recently radio has picked it up and it has exploded. 3. You're going to like it.


This song has been picked up by the alternative stations here in Salt Lake, and the response has been huge. It's meaningful hip-hop with horns and violins viola (thanks, ellie :)), and the way it starts out kind of innocent and then builds to a thundering crescendo literally gives me chills.

[mp3] Flobots - Handlebars

The sites: Official Myspace
The sounds: iTunes Amazon

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

This could be the worst song ever!!

Kraig said...

Haha, I was actually thinking of posting this myself since it gets blasted on X96 nonstop. I dig the song despite it't hippity-hoppiness, but I decided I couldn't post it when my 15 year old sister-in-law was singing it with her pink iPod Nano and Hollister shirt the other day . Too weird. Good selection though, I'm glad one of us had the balls to do it.

Stu said...

I think I'm going to have to lean more on the side of worst song ever on this one. The horns were good, but I dislike this one especially for its hippity-hoppiness. And as a point of clarification, one does not 'sing-along' with a hippery-hoppery song, one talks-along. She was talking-along with it. Gross.

ellie said...

it's actually a viola.

Anonymous said...

good song its catchy nd meaning to it if u don't like ur sad like forreal no taste in real music..

Anonymous said...

The bbc played this track the other week, it's not gonna be long before this track blows up over here in the U.k. If only more hip-hop sounded as good as this...

kShadhavar said...

I love this song. My local Alt rock station has been playing it quite a bit for the past several weeks. I do disagree with you it being a hip-hop song. I don't think it qualifies, hip-hop is much more melodic. Rap yes. Hip-hop not really.

Anonymous said...

You guys wouldn't know what good music was if bit you, it dosen't matter whether its hip hop, rap, rock or even country. It all comes down to what the message is and if you cant see that they you should just quit listening and go live in a cave.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I dig the almost ska-ish taste of the trumpet and the build up the song has. The anti-government theme appeals to my Libertarian side, but the non-violence peace message ideals makes my realistic side laugh. Great beat though. I give it an "A" for composition and the band an "A" for so far sticking to their ideals. :)

fahlo said...

This song is incredibly powerful.

For any of you that have any idea of the current state of the world and the power-dynamic, perhaps you will appreciate the insight that this song provides.

This song makes a simple but incredibly important observation: there is a single, small group of elite people on this planet that can determine the future of this planet.

Traditional "rappers" focus on false power-- owning bling, driving fancy cars, and looking "cool". But THERE ARE people on this planet that have real power-- the power to determine the fate of nearly 7 Billion people.

This is a truth that we must acknowledge for, without a doubt, we will all face it in a very real way within our lifetime. I commend the flobots for writing a song that captures this idea in such a potent way!

Anonymous said...

Why does it matter if you sister in law was singing it?Because she wears hollister and has an ipod, she doesnt care about good music? Or care about society?You don't think that's a little snobby of you?Who cares if it has hip hop influence..it's a good song!you don't just have to like 1 genre..I'm sorry but for someone who says they like the Beatles..You obviously don't seem to listen to lyrics or understand them?

Kraig said...

Wow, I love the obvious lack of reading comprehension in this comment thread. Props to everyone for assuming I didn't like the song - I thought I pretty clearly laid out the facts that I do enjoy the song. And to this last one from Mr. Anonymous:

1- No, my sister-in-law doesn't care about good music. It all depends on whether or not she can "dance" to it.
2- No, she doesn't care about society. The only lyrics she likes in the song are the parts about riding the bike without handlebars because it's "funny". Totally.
3- No, that's not snobby of me. She'd say the exact same thing.
4- I don't care if things have a hip hop influence, it's just not a genre I pay much attention to so it's not something I'd usually post. That's my point.
5- Don't question whether I listen to lyrics, that's just silly. That's what I liked about the song originally anyways - despite not liking hip hop much I really like this song because of the message it sends. Also, it's ridiculous for you to make a comment about how I may not listen to the Beatles. You really have NO idea how far off base you are there buddy, don't even go there.

So class, to sum things up:

A- I like the song and thought I made that clear.
B- I don't listen to a lot of hip hop so I generally don't/won't post in the hip hop genre.
C- I chose not to post this song because it was getting uber radio play where I live, so I figured everyone knew about it anyways
D- (last point) I'm glad that Brock posted it because I enjoy the song.

Get it? Good.

Anonymous said...

This song is one of the best songs i have heard. Not only hearing it as a song, but actually listening to the lyrics and noticing the way the song builds from something moderatly simple to something more makes this song great.

Amelia said...

If you would actually listen and pay attention to what the lyrics/video is saying, people would realize what a significant meaning this song has and social relevance. It is not the worst song ever.. There are definately worse.

didgi said...

Didn't fund the damn levy? No wonder man, now our whole damn town is torn asunder man.

Every American needs to buy this CD. If you don't like Handlebars you obviously did not listen to the words, and you're right next to the pop-junkies that you hate because you are not paying attention just like them.

Anonymous said...

Great song.
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I've only heard the song a few times but the more I listen to it the more the song had a meaning to me. It really made me think about what it could stand for. Im definetly putting this on my MP3.

jamie acid girls said...

a few items here,

1) this IS NOT HIPHOP, this is MILES AND MILES FROM IT.
2) this song is fucking HORRID HORRIBLE TERRIBLE BULLSHIT, and everything said in it is from a sarcastic place (i hope to god anyway) and anyone who feels some sort of affinity for this song is hiding a huge very used deck of magic the gathering cards and leaves the house when his/her roomate or family forces them.

if you think this is hip-hop you need to ACTUALLY LOOK IT UP AND LISTEN TO THE GENRE.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT ENCOURAGE WHITE PPL TO KILL A WHOLE ENTIRE STYLE THIS WAY. Its detracting from what has been a very amazing tradition of modern music.

and again, i am so so so so so sorry for anyone who buys this music, as it is encouraging assholes to make a mockery of music in general.

signed, 'sad for you'

Anonymous said...

The track is one of the best songs ever. It shows how one simple accomplishment ie. riding a bike without handlebars makes a person believe they can do anything. especially near the end where he splits the atom and creates cold-fusion and dominates the world. But in the end when theres a dictator there will be rebels and the person who lead the rebels was his friend from the beginning who can also ride without handlebars.

Jesse Leon said...

I just discovered this song, and was researching it a little online while bored at work, which led me to stumble upon this blog.
In response to Jaimie Acid Girls:
You're right, it is miles from hip-hop. It's not terrible though, if you appreciate the value of the music, the lyrics, and the talent of these guys. The song is pretty poetic, and they did a good job of fusing rock (or alt rock) with rap and hip-hoppish elements.
And it's not killing a genre, it's creating a new style. I know I personally have a lot more respect for artists like these guys who play their instruments than guys who just rap over a synthesized beat created on a computer.
This is music, its innovative, meaningful, and pretty damn good, and if your mind is too trapped in the ghetto of gangsta rap to see that, its truly 'sad for you'

Terri said...

Some of these comments are extremely annoying. People are making their opinions of Hip Hop based on what they hear on the radio. Honestly, you should only be allowed to criticize Hip Hop if you study it and hear what there is out there because the radio only plays the "popular" songs. Just to be vendictive, country singers all sound the same and can't sing.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the song. I like the repetitive content. The deeper meaning can only be explained by the true author but I am sure it means different things to different people. To me there are people out there that with their own ambitions (political or what have you), are destroying this country and the values upon which it was established. There are so many out there that "CAN" do so much like split the atom for instance. Yet we cannot live in peace and create cures for horrible diseases.

Anonymous said...

so nobody looks past the hip hoppityness? really? the songs bullshit and totally anti-american. clearly flobots wipe there ass with the american flag. listen to words.....FUCK

Kraig said...

Anti-american? Seriously? Yeah, because the founding fathers were SO into consolidating power and restriction of speech, which is what the song is railing against.

Next time, you may just want to think before you open your mouth. I guess that might hurt though.

Anonymous said...

the only people that think this song is "deep" are as retarded as the "artist" that wrote this stinking pile of fallacy...

I find it funny that people are such SHEEP, that a stupid song with a few dramatic minor chords get's their emotions twisted up so much that they actually think it's a relevant social commentary

go cut yourself and whine about how society is socially unjust, and how "people need to wake up man... see the world for what it is"

you stupid twats, you think you are privy so some greater knowledge that the average idiot from Nebraska doesn't have? They just don't whine and bitch and moan while sucking mommy and daddies cash tit to buy sophomoric music like you pedantic losers.

Chloe said...

Well. I'm kind of annoyed after reading these comments. Kraig was right, generally 15 year old, Hollister wearing girls with pink iPods don't listen to the lyrics or messages of a song. This annoys me greatly based on experiences in my past. (I sang and covered Cat Power's version of Wonderwall on the piano for my school talent show, and afterwards the Hollister girls came up to me and said, "How can there be fire in your heart?" But I digress.) And also- Technically the genre of Handlebars is Alternative/Punk/Pop. And kind Mr. Anonymous above me- Your comment is insulting.I'm not saying anything else.

Rich said...

I quote "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT ENCOURAGE WHITE PPL TO KILL A WHOLE ENTIRE STYLE THIS WAY" From the person who signed there post "sad for you".

I'd like to just say get to fuck lad. "White people", my bet is if someone on here was to use the expression "black people" you'd attempt to leather them and go on about how they are a racist. So lad, please, get to fuck :s

As for the song it’s brilliant and has quite a powerful, daunting message to all of us.

Sheep said...

All these hater posts are very disturbing. I understand that you may not like the flobots, and I accept that. However, do not insult those who listen to music for reasons other than its a top 20 hit.

And to the last anonymous, this song is far from whining about the world being socially unjust.

This song, and the whole cd, is very politically charged; presenting the ideals and beliefs of the Flobots. It carries a very strong and poetic message that contains much more substance than most other music commonly played on the radio. I assume you are only paying attention to the musical side, which is also very entertaining and I am sorry that you do not appreciate it.

Lastly, do not call people inspired by this song "sheep", because most of the people who find great meaning in these lyrics are the exact opposite of such backwards thinking. I am not saying we are better than you because we appreciate this music, I am just saying that there is a message that you are missing.

This is a very deep song and obviously you don't understand the real purpose behind it. If you dont enjoy the song, thats fine I have no problem with you. However, do not lash out at something which you clearly do not understand or see the extreme relativity it has to our own world.

You seem like one of those people that would enjoy/hate rage against the machine because you dont like their musical style, though music is just the means by which they present a message; much like a painter or writer.

Ben Osborne said...

Jesus, what an irksome waste of time slating the supposed genre of a song which is so obviously so rich in depth and meaning.

Jamie Acid Girls: "White people" never, ever set out to ruin a genre with this song. Just because this song features no examples of sex, drugs, cars or sexual promiscuity you label it as horrible and terrible? What a sad life you must lead, in a horrible, horrible place.

Despite, i quote, 'everything said in it is from a sarcastic place' i think you really, seriously look at yourself and consider the depth in your own life.

I genuinely pity you for such views you have, its a shame really.

Back to the song, im no libertarian but to me the message here is important, and heartbreaking at the same time. Humans are born with free choice, and hopefully we may see a shift towards a more honest and peaceful society?

Hannah said...

wow. I just want to say how brilliant it is see all these differnet comment, all these different views, THAT is what music today should be about. I heard the start if this song when I was washing up, and liked the sound, and its simple naive start, so, with little time then, added it to my bebo account. I have only today heard the entire song, and I have to say, it hit me like a bomb, how it gradually built up both a musical and lyrical climax and then destroy it in a moment, inspiring. As for the genre, who dives a damn? I'm not usually into rap/hip hop, but that didnt stop me loving it.
And, to all you biggoted (find a dictionary if you dont know what it means) 'Patriotic' losers, FORGET AMERICA, thats not what this songs about, we, as HUMANS, citizens of the WORLD have a problem, I live in Scotland, and ts still as relevant here as in the white hating ghetto you pretend your from.
who cares if the music, of anything else is black, white, hiphop, rock? why do you have to cram it into boxes which you then cannot fir into your narrow minds?
You hear, but do not LISTEN to the music.
by the way, I amd 15, so dont go bad, mouthin us lol
"God Bless America?", nah, I bless the flobots.

antics said...

Wow. It is so fun to read what people think about the Flobots. They are actually friends of mine, so it is just fun to see people either praise them or tear them apart and to assume they know what Jamie (Jonny5) intended when he wrote Handlebars.

Anonymous said...

today's mainstream hip-hop is a genre that is existing on borrowed time. the music is ultra formulaic and lacks originality. its redundant and boring.

it's much like the 80's hair band era. it's just a matter of time before a new and more honest brand/style of music makes its way to the mainstream and sends the current form of hip-hop to its deathbed.

the flobots are on the right track. the music is pure and honest.

i love the misanthropic foundation of the music.

i love americans who can see and express the truth rather than fall victim to indoctrination.

god will bless iraq or north korea just as equally as he would america i'm sure.

and i too am proud to be an american.

Urban Folk said...

I didn't mind this track at all, but I personally thought"Rise" (http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=H0XmsUlz2hI) was way better. The message is far more political and better-stated, in my opinion. It was great to see this band get involved with Rock The Vote...they had easily the best PSA of the entire campaign (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOk9B1hYr4g) Good stuff all around.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you all know, i am a 15 year old hollister wearing girl, and yes, i do hav a pink ipod... i also believe that it is not at ALL fair to generilize people so much by what they look like... i have played the viola for 5 years and in doing so have come to apprieciate music for what it really is. Its not often that u come across a song with such a true and powerful meaning. It truly does make you stop and think about the world as it really is. Regarding the genre, I have never heard anything quite like it. The fact that it is able to combine instruments from so many, almost clashing, genres and make GOOD music out of it is truly extraordinary. It shows how much power music really can have. To all of those haters out there, I think its really sad that just because its different, you automatically think its bad. Do you people honestly even LISTEN to the lyrics?? Obviously not. YOU are the real sheep here.

Brent said...

I heard this as a dial-in ringtone on my boss's friend's phone and thought it would be an amusing catchy song. Then I watched both the videos online (multiple times) and I started to notice all the fine details. The videos really do complete the message the song is giving, and you have to watch both.

It starts off with two friends riding their bikes with no handlebars (of course). The friends come to a parting point in their lives.

One goes down the path of a regular person. Happy, gets along with people, proud of his country, glad to be alive, a real role model. A hero. Follows his conscience and does what's right.

The other one goes down the path of a fast-riser. You can tell that he's well educated and intelligent. He starts to let his ego get to him (I can open a thrift store, design an engine that's efficient, make antibiotics). He starts going up in the corporate world (I can make you want to buy a product). He knows all the important people (movers, shakers). As he gathers more power he is pressured from all sides into becoming something dark (from the first video, forced to fire a bunch of people and goes against his conscience for the sake of his personal prosperity). He becomes more and more powerful, thinking he can do anything he wants to and that he knows how everything works and can predict the future.

Eventually he becomes President. Obsessed with power he extends his control over the people. He takes away their freedoms, exploits their natural resources, and begins oppressing the people. He begins to believe he is a god. He thinks he can do anything with no consequences because he has ultimate power.

The other friend, now being oppressed by his former friend, takes the side of the people. They rise up against oppression as one and take on the government. But the government has grown so corrupt and large that it's out of anyone's control, even the president. He sees the people, including his best friend, destroyed by his actions and realises what a terrible mistake he has made.

Anonymous said...

i seriously dislike most hip-hop, but this song is so fantastic. <3

the first time i heard it though, i thought... "woah, it sounds awfully like white and nerdy." not that this is a bad thing XDDD;

Mela said...

Look at this amazing ASL interpretation of this..if anyone knows any sign language..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKngS7dbrNs

www.murcia-3d.com said...

Pretty helpful piece of writing, thanks so much for your post.

Anonymous said...

Actually dipshit this stems more from hip hop than the shit I assume is real hip hop, ( watch you say pac just fucking watch lol) but back on subject.
Hip hop and rap started as a voice from the streets and common man, then as it became more mainstream it was about dancing, then gangsta thanks to nwa, everyone followed that movement (even ice t went from poppy dance rap to fuck the police), then came weed money hoes cars and bling, and dance is starting to come back aswell....so going back to what we learned here, this song is spoken by the common man about a very powerful threat to our way of living, a wake up call, the song is the tune for you to hear the message and rhymes somehow have an effective ability to catch peopls attention and stick in their heads, aswell as influencial. The importance wasn't on the next hip hop or rap song it was the message so please, leave your ignorance out of this and actually read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

Which makes you more the sheep moron, if you have such knowledge and claim you "just don't bitch about it, then by definition you are the sheep. While others are speaking out (not bitching), your ass is eating cheetos and watching honey boo boo like a good little quite sheep that waits for his slaughter. Just because you use big words you probably looked up while typing so you can at least sound more educated, doesn't mean you're so high and mighty, you come off as lazy, weak, and uneducated. Weather you think the song is relevant/rings true today or not, the credit is due to such an amazing way of expressing such a powerful meaning. You don't have to like the song, but please spare us of your clearly ignorant temper tantrum