About My Song Dictator

I’ve been asked to share a few words about the concepts and themes of my new record “the New Great Game” on this 8th of November release day and 45th presidential election. Yes 45: there have been 45 presidents of the United States – somehow that doesn’t seem like that many to me. History stretches back but I’m not sure about how far it goes. The heartbreaking narrative of Ken Burn’s Civil War series or his handling of the Second World War seems to chillingly suggest that these events came to pass in a not so distant past. In the 1990s I remember dressing up like a hippie, and in the 70s and 80s they tried to get back to the authenticity and simplicity of 1950s rock and roll. 50s rock and rollers didn’t want to end up like their parents that lived through a couple of wars and the great depression. The years may pass us by, but the game remains very much the same.

On my song Dictator which comes out today, I sing the following:

“Some people are so self assured
they’re busy tearing it up
they’re busy burning it down
burn it down
some people are so unassured
its been such a long time the same voice was heard
saying hold on
saying hold on”

“yeah every now and then I catch myself
my reflection in the mirror that don’t look back
can’t see the suffering I make for myself
I always turn away from the aftermath
was I so wrong
yeah i can’t bare to say
I’m the bad guy now take it all away
like a dictator”

Was I writing a song about Donald Trump? Absolutely not. Is it a song about the series of Dictator’s fighting tooth and nail for power in the middle east? I don’t know, although the arab spring was very much in the air when I wrote that song. What does seem clear to me is that increasingly we are living in an illiberal world, where intolerance and fear of the other is on the rise. What Murray helped me realize is that this is a fight that we all have a stake in. Every day we choose to either turn away, and turn inside, or scrappily scavenge to find love and a little bit of soul. Is the choice between Donald and Hillary as clear cut as that ? Probably not, although I know who I’d vote for.