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I’ve always been a supporter of Negativland’s infamous intellectual-property challenges and copyright-infringement battles with U2’s record label and the Record Industry Association of America, but through it all their music has remained hit or miss. The three Robert Rauschenberg–like musical collages here will hardly change anyone’s political position, but it’s fun to hear the band try.
The ABCs of Anarchism marks the first collaboration with Chumbawamba, another strong supporter of the always-misunderstood idea of anarchy. This CD entertains rather than educates with samples of the Cookie Monster, the Teletubbies, the Sex Pistols, the M*A*S*H theme song, the Spice Girls, and, of course, Chumbawamba’s worldwide hit “Tubthumpin’.” This list seems more interesting than it actually sounds on record. The straightforward lesson that the CD’s title promises fails to surface from the thick muck of audio snippets. Maybe those truly curious about anarchy should make a quick trip to the library instead of the record store.