The Menzingers | photo by Jess Flynn | courtesy of the artist
The Menzingers release acoustic “America Pt. 2” in response to national unrest
On June 5, Scranton punk band The Menzingers released what they called “a new version” of their single “America (You’re Freaking Me Out),” titled “America Pt. 2.” The song is an acoustic rendition of the previous “America,” with updated lyrics to reflect current upheaval.
“America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” was released as the lead single for the band’s 2019 album Hello Exile. In describing the song, vocalist and guitarist Greg Barnett said, “We’re living in a pretty insane time, where all you can think about every single day is ‘What the hell is going on with this country?'” The original “America” was inspired in part by Barnett coming of age during the Iraq War, and subsequently experiencing disillusionment and uncertainty for the better part of his life. It is only fitting, then, that the song be reworked in response to the mass disillusionment currently reflected in nationwide protests surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Although the first verse and the chorus remain the same between the two versions of “America,” the lyrics of the second and third verse have been altered, and the Menzingers refuse to mince words with lyrics like “Well George Floyd was murdered by a cop / The whole world saw the video and watched / Now justice is long overdue / Grab your pitchforks we’re heading to Pennsylvania Avenue / Cause enough is enough is enough.”
It comes as no surprise that punk would be among the first genres to release a musical response to the current sociopolitical situation. A punk ethos certainly runs through the track, with heavy strumming and the band’s signature melodic yelling, the use of acoustic instrumentation on “America Pt. 2” lends the song a folk credence as well, effectively combining the two most popular revolutionary genres.
All proceeds from sales of “America Pt. 2” will be donated to community bail funds (via ActBlue) and Campaign Zero. On June 5, Bandcamp, Epitaph Records, and Red Scare Industries will be waiving their revenue share, ensuring that 100% of sales will go to these organizations, but the Menzingers themselves will continue to donate their portion of “all money ever made” on the song.
Listen to “America Pt. 2” below.