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Operation: Mindcrime

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  • Remember when rock music held the promise of social change? There is something about having a Bush back in the oval office that makes this album relevant in strange new ways. Originally released back in 1988, this rock opera tells the story of Nikki, a dropout of the Regan era and a heroin addict, who tries to make a difference in society by joining an underground revolutionary movement headed by Doctor X. You can feel his frustration and hope for a better future in “Speak”: Seven years of powerThe corporation clawThe rich control the government, the media the lawTo make some kind of differenceThen everyone must knowEradicate the fascists, revolution will growThe system we learn says we’re equal under lawBut the streets are reality, the weak and poor will fallLet’s tip the power balance and tear down their crownEducate the masses, We’ll burn the White House downSpeak to me the pain you feelSpeak the word [Revolution]The word is all of usUnfortunately for Nikki, he learns that even his revolution will not allow him to think for himself, he just waits for the call to learn his next target. The good doctor provides the drugs he need and the sense of purpose towards a greater good in exchange for Nikki’s killing skills. The role of the doctor is played remarkably like Cancer Man from the X-files. When Nikki goes rouge, the revolution finds a way to silence him. Operation Mindcrime is in my mind the most complex and socially meaningful rock opera in existence. Its major difference from utopian social commentary is that it shows the limitations of the people controlling a social revolution for the supposed good of the masses while still showing the responsibility of the status quo government for the revolutionary impulse. Thus, Operation Mindcrime does not provide easy solutions but exposes the basic problems of our fiscally divided society.

    Posted on February 12, 2010