4/5 – a different kind of protest song evoking a religious experience through rock n roll
Kevin Morby has released a third new track ahead of his forthcoming album Oh My God, available 26th April, via Dead Oceans.
The new song, titled OMG Rock n Roll, comes with a somewhat surreal and psychedelic video directed by Christopher Good. While the song is definitely new, its familiarity is at the forefront, harking back to 2016 protest song Beautiful Strangers which comes with an infinitely more melancholic mood. In the 2016 track Morby kept it simple, dedicated and written for the victims of the shooting in Orlando, as well as Paris and wherever else these atrocities continue to happen, with profits going to Everytown for Gun Safety. Upon release, Morby wrote “[that it] is dedicated to and written for all the people I have never met but have only read about. The innocent people who were out living their lives and one day, without warning, had them taken away from them. People who liked to laugh, dance, and love in the way that we all do, but can’t anymore. All those names and faces, all those beautiful strangers…”
While the lyrics are familiar, the mood of the song is not; a faster beat, jaunty guitar and introduction of drums updates the song in a way not to be expected from the poignant lyrics. According to Morby: “It’s meant to be playful, despite the morbid subject matter, and sing sonic praise to rock n roll as a religious experience. More than anything—it’s [a song] about gun violence in America. Sutherland Springs, Vegas, Parkland … the list gets longer each year, filled with more cities, more innocent victims and yet nothings fundamentally changed. It’s a sad, scary and ultimately incredibly frustrating affair. We’ve all made peace with the fact that every time we leave the house we could be senselessly murdered at the hands of someone who should never have been given that power. The song is meant to mirror a public tragedy with its hard pan to the choir almost two minutes in. It’s rolling along, living its best life, when suddenly, with a gasp, reality has been turned upside down and all there’s left to do is pray to god you don’t die.”
The surreal nature of the video mirrors the surreal reality of the song’s subject, and is definitely worth a watch.