Blazing out of the mid-Atlantic, ska/punk-infused reggae rockers Bumpin Uglies have been working on a pretty unique project since COVID-19 took over our lives a few months back. They have begun what they are calling ‘The Never Ending Drop’: a take on how the band has felt as if the past 10 years of their career has essentially been a “never ending tour”. Well, when the tour was forced to come to a stop because of the pandemic, the band couldn’t help but fall back into the other half of what they do for a living — writing music.
Bumpin Uglies embraced the shutdown, took in what was going on in the world around them and decided to put it to music.
What followed was the announcement of a collection of 25 or so socially-conscious and aware songs to be released every month indefinitely. The first track that came from this collection was called “Fear”, released on October 16th. The song was written immediately after George Floyd’s execution, as well as the subsequent protests and civil unrest that followed, touching on tolerance and acceptance in a world fueled more and more by ignorance and rejection. This powerful single encourages us not to “buy the fear” that gets pushed in our faces on a daily basis. The overall experience of this year has inspired what the band proclaims is the best music they have ever made and “Fear” did a fantastic job of proving them right so far.
The drop continued last Friday with the newest single, “Underinsured”, available on all streaming platforms now. This track is a punk explosion, destroying the idea of the American health care system. Laying out a crystal clear depiction of how dealing with health care has driven so many Americans into insurmountable debt and further exacerbated mental health problems, Bumpin Uglies says we have completely mixed up our priorities as a society. We are putting the profits and benefits of these major companies and CEO’s above the needs and desires of the poorest of our own. “Health insurance has been the single biggest cause of anxiety in my life since my wife quit her teaching job to open her own business in 2017,” explains lead singer Brandon Hardesty. “With both of us being self-employed, we were forced into the open market; in other words, we pay a lot of money for awful insurance.”
“The American health care system is broken and in dire need of reform. Good affordable health care is a basic human right and that’s what this song is about.”
Hardesty is only one example of the devastating impact the health care industry is having on people in the richest country in the world. The United States is the only developed country without at least some form of government-run health care option. Everyone else gets it, why can’t we? “Too poor to live and too scared to die”… countless Americans can relate to the chorus of “Underinsured” on too many levels, its ungodly. “God forbid that a man should thrive”! When did greed become the driving force in our society? I guess that’s the basis of capitalism, is it not? To get as much for yourself as you can while leaving everyone else in your dust. I don’t know if it is just me, but that seems like a poor model to live by when it comes to helping sick people. It should not take a legal degree or a medical license to be able to understand how to navigate a doctor appointment or a therapy session. And, no one should be hit with a surprise bill catapulting them into debt.
The second verse of the song touches on the idea that so many people are self-medicating for their mental health problems instead of seeking help from a professional, simply because the plan they are stuck with does not cover therapy. We are given the illusion of choice, yet truly have no choice at all. Some of us get stuck with whatever plan we are given by our employer or what we can afford in an open market, only to have massively high deductibles and unaffordable co-pays, only to have some basic needs not even covered. It’s sickening. “Underinsured” kicks the health care industry in the ass and forcefully contributes to the topic of everyone receiving basic human health care in a nation that boasts how much it cares for its citizens. The Never Ending Drop is off to a fire start and, if it is any indication of what the next 23-ish months will be like, then may the drop certainly never end!