Montreal rock band, Arcade Fire, delivers a protest track with singer Mavis Staples that’s a direct response to the inauguration in Washington D.C.
The Canadian zeitgeist reflectors are no strangers to ominous anthems and they go for the throat and get down to basics with I Give You Power.
The enlistment of soul singer and civil rights activist Staples gives the recording extra clout and integrity. Together they link a path between protest and testimony, electronica and gospel revival.
The lowering thunder of I Give You Power sounds a dystopian note that hovers like the literal black cloud that looms on the horizon. It then scuds over rapidly.
The track has the fright factor of a Trent Reznor tune and the cinematic impact of a big screen soundtrack. The tenor of the song is reactionary and its bluntness and fire sum up the mood of the day. It’s not rhetoric and it’s real.
It’s also the idea behind the song, the impetus.
Protest watchers are saying that there’s a new era dawning but anyone with access to social media can see that for themselves. The unrest and outrage makes for some passionate artistic expression, especially in the medium of music.
This is the real thing right here. Also, all the proceeds from the track will go the American Civil Liberties Union.
– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest releases for The Morning Star every Friday.