Music is kind of my thing – I’m pretty sure 90% of my memory is committed solely to song lyrics. A lot of people feel similarly, using music as a way to escape and relax. Along with this profound love for the art comes harsh judgement for every song I hear. Many can testify that I’ll sing every word to a tune and then still rant about it afterward.
Now, I really didn’t want to write this. I loathe the topic, but someone needed to discuss it. I despise this song, but I believe it deserves recognition. The song in question? “Handlebars” by Flobots. Rarely do I find a song that I can’t roll with, but this one is definitely outside of my taste. Something about the voice just irks me, I suppose.
Regardless of how much I utterly dislike this song, the words speak wonders (which is usually enough to encourage me to find love for a song that doesn’t even sound nice). Usually, I believe that a song should be separated from a video to decipher meaning, but this one shouldn’t be listened to without it. Why? Because this song is so utterly literal. Perhaps that’s why I have such a dislike for it. I’m used to the music I love having a deep meaning hidden in poetic verse, but this breaks outside of that boundary. It means what it says, and I’m not used to that in the music I listen to.
It begins with seemingly no meaning – the words, “I can ride my bike with no handlebars.” The beginning is innocent. It speaks of being able to do simple things, things brought about by childlike curiosity, such as taking apart a remote. In the video it features two people riding bikes (once again – literal) and then parting ways. They both walk down paths where they’re confronted with this human freedom that these simple things showed them as a child.
One of the two sees how you can use this feat of free will to control humanity, shown in the line, “I can lead a nation with a microphone.” The other sees how this can be dangerous. To sum the video up, one of the two former friends becomes a corrupt leader, whilst the other leads a rebellion against this.
Corruption is dangerous, and that’s why I view this song as so important. My dislike of it means nothing; it’s still a very relevant concept. We’re all given free will and it’s important that we see what to do with it – and it speaks wonders. In the words of Lord Acton, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Give the song a listen and see what you think yourself: