The most overtly political track in my countdown, ‘Trouble Every Day’ is a scary review of the state of the UK in 2019, the lyrics covering everything from global warming to media bias and neo-liberalism. She Drew The Gun is a vehicle for singer Louisa Roach from the Wirral. I tried to write this blog in a cafe using their wifi, but YouTube said that the network policy was blocking it (i.e. the safety settings on the router itself). I can’t see what it found to dislike in this video, it’s not NSFW unless I am missing anything – I just hope this isn’t the start of internet safety blocking political messages.
Like all the best protest songs it has a great tune: musically the track is a cover of Frank Zappa’s 1966 protest song which is also worth a listen. The lyrics are new though and bang up to date:
You know I watched that rotten box
Until my head began to hurt from checking out the way
That they don’t dig up the right dirt
And they’re selling out the people and further they assert
That they’re totally transparent not complicit and absurd
With their pantomime neutrality distorting every word
Don’t forget Ian’s and Roy’s choices below…
Drawing inspiration from Richard’s #6, my next choice is inspired by the complex (and often political) nature of Australia’s relationship with its indigenous culture. For many years, much of contemporary black music spoke to the mistreatment of Aborigines by Australia’s white settlers (for particularly powerful examples I’m thinking of Archie Roach’s “Took the Children Away” or Yothu Yindi’s “Treaty”). In recent years, we have seen the birth of a community of Aboriginal performers who have brought a more sophisticated take, both lyrically and musically, on growing up black. Artists like Baker Boy, A.B. Original, Dan Sultan and Thelma Plum are the new masters of telling nuanced stories about their lives using music formats as varied as rap, rock, folk and pop. One of the best examples in the last 12 months is the new single “Mother Tongue” from Mojo Juju. Lead singer Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga is part Filipino, part Wiradjuri and also proudly queer. The song, based on her personal experience of not knowing the languages of her forebears, is a also a clever observation on race and identity.
My number 6 is from an artist I’ve included in this countdown before. It’s fair to say that Pert’s finest export, Kevin Parker is not an artist who panders to commercial expectations. However, by his standards this track is a pure pop record, albeit with shimmering psychedelic undertones. Even in mid-winter, this is the sound of summer.
Number 6 – Tame Impala, ‘Borderline’