In 1999 protestors in Seattle confronted the World Trade Organization and the popular model of globalization. In 2003 Apple introduced iTunes and the 99-cent download. In 2011 protestors in New York City confronted the financial industry on Wall Street. They called themselves the 99%. 1999, the 99-cent download, and the 99%. So what?

I’m not much of a political activist. I remember attending a WTO protest in Washington DC. It was shortly after the one in Seattle in 1999 with all the rubber bullets, tear gas, and rocks through windows. I watched from the sidelines as the police corralled about 3000 people and drove them away in school busses. It took about an hour.

I’m a musician. I love listening to music, and I love making it. I don’t just buy recordings; I buy studio time. I’m fortunate that I can barely afford to do both. That’s one reason my music is unique. I’m not trying to make ends meet. To make ends meet at 99 cents a song, you have to sell mass quantities of music. So you have to appeal to a wide audience. That’s why so much pop music sounds the same. It’s all about the lowest common denominator. It’s boring!

99% of pop music is regurgitated chum. That’s a fact. Is it a coincidence that 1% of Americans control 40% of the American economy? Maybe; maybe not. But it’s not about the numbers. It’s not even about the facts. We obviously live in a highly stratified, inequitable society. It’s so obvious that we learn to completely forget about it in order to get on with our daily lives.

Thanks to Occupy Wall Street for the reminder. Cheers to those who stopped to say, “Hey. Wait a minute. What’s going on here?” Without those efforts the system could get so out-of-whack that it’s simply unfixable.  The song “Make Up Your Mind” is dedicated to the protestors of Seattle and New York and all the armchair activists following from the coffee shop. Let’s keep things interesting.

For a free download of this song, click “download” in the player above and enter $0 as your purchase price.  Then enter your email.  Or it’s at iTunes for 99 cents.

To read more about the connections between the WTO protests of 1999 and the Occupy Wall Street movement, visit The Atlantic here.

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Make Up Your Mind
Last night I woke up in a cold sweat /C /D /E- / /
from the strangest dream.
I was dancing on the back
of an enormous beast.

Everything seems to be what it seems.
Can you help me explain what this means?

Make up your mind /C B- /A- G /F E- /Eb /
Dance until you fly.

Burning both ends of the candle
just to make ends meet.
This broken circle isn’t rolling
so we walk the street.

Everything seems to be what it seems.
Can you help me explain what this means?

Make up your mind
Dance until you fly.

{interlude} /C- Bb /A D7 /G- F# /C /
/Ab G-/F- /

I read a book that told me
I should try to live my dreams.
I read another that said
I am mostly still asleep.

Everything seems to be what it seems.
Can you help me explain what this means?

Make up your mind.
Dance until you fly.
Kind of Silence Cover
“Make Up Your Mind” appears on the 2012 EP “A Kind of Silence.” Drums by Greg Weiser. Bass by Dave Anter. Engineered by Rory Anton. Mastered by Tony Humecke. Everything else by Aron Van Alstine. ASCAP. Copyright 2012.