Watch Edward Snowden's New Music Video. Or Don't.


April 28, 2016

Imagine you’re in the club and the DJ starts bumping Edward Snowden's EDM track. (Yes, Ed has an EDM track.) Now imagine there's a music video for said song. What would it look like?

Sony Music, Snowden and French electronic music producer Jean-Michel Jarre took it upon themselves to answer that question, although lots of people seem to wish they hadn't. In the video, which dropped shortly after the Snowden movie trailer, the NSA whistleblower lays down a few lines on "Exit," a pulsing track by Jarre.

No doubt the song's message — privacy is a civil right that's being dangerously infringed upon — is no laughing matter. But the oddity of the music video (and the track, tbh) juxtaposed with the serious intent makes it kinda hard to keep a straight face.

The Verge described it as "definitely strange," and Gizmodo didn't hold back either, calling it effing "hilarious" and "a fitting visual representation for a truly, truly bad song." The "Exit" video is a mishmash of "Matrix" footage and random hacking clips, complete with some Snowden vocals and interspersed shots of Jarre looking mysterious.

The two met after Jarre asked The Guardian to put him in touch with Snowden. Jarre later told the outlet, "I sent him a demo of the music, then had a meeting with Edward over Skype, 90 minutes of conversation, where I gave him the understanding of what I wanted to do, we talked about his situation, the reason why he did what he did, then we recorded his vocals."

Here's what Snowden says in the song, in case you aren't brave enough to watch:

"Technology can actually increase privacy. The question is: Why are our private details that are transmitted online, why are private details that are stored on our personal devices any different than the details and private records of our lives that are stored in our private journals? ... Saying that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. It's a deeply antisocial principle because rights are not just individual, they're collective, and what may not have value to you today may have value to an entire population, an entire people, an entire way of life tomorrow. And if you don't stand up for it, then who will?"

Snowden is (presumably) still in some undisclosed location in Russia, and this whole EDM thing feels like some kind of bizarre plot twist.