Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Eerily Predictive ‘La Grippe’ Gets Coronavirus Update With ‘American Nightmare’

Rolling Stone
·2 min read

The Trump administration’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic — with 228,000 U.S. deaths and counting — is the focus of “American Nightmare,” the latest video from the Coda Campaign.

The video, featuring Squirrel Nut Zippers’ terrifyingly prescient 1995 song “La Grippe” — substitute “flu” for “virus” and it’s eerily accurate — combines footage from B-horror movies, news clips of Trump’s restriction-free rallies and the scary coronavirus numbers themselves.

“From bungling of the pandemic to suppressing the right to assemble to calling on domestic terrorists to ‘standby’ we are all living in this American Nightmare,” the Coda Campaign wrote of the video. “The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ ‘La Grippe’ give us the atmosphere to put all of Trump’s craziness on display. Let’s Vote and end this American Nightmare.”

The campaign also released a new spot featuring New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” alongside images of voters during the pandemic. “If anyone understands what ‘You Get What You Give’ means, it’s Joe Biden,” New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander says. “Hearing that my song touched the lives of Joe and his late son Beau in such a profound way makes it all the more meaningful to me. Rolling Stones’ Greatest One Album Wonders list had us next to the Sex Pistols, but being mentioned in the same sentence as Joe feels way more radical to me. Our future President’s a new radical only in all the ways that’ll matter getting our country reunited and moving forward again!”

Previous Coda Campaign videos have featured Billy Joel’s “Honesty” and Linda Ronstadt’s Warren Zevon cover “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” — both used with approval from the artists — soundtracking Trump’s lies about the coronavirus and his attacks against “fake news” outlets.

The Coda Campaign is the brainchild of former entertainment lawyer Fred Goldring, who previously executive produced Will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” song during Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 and used his industry contacts to obtain permission for the classic tracks; the Coda Campaign hopes to release a few more videos before Election Day, Billboard reports.

“Anytime you can get one more person to vote that wouldn’t, it’s effective. I just think that the way artists are used could be much more effective than it is — it’s a scattershot thing,” says Goldring told Billboard. “If nothing else, it’s been fantastic for our team to channel our nervous energy.”

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