Friday, September 30, 2005

Burt Bacharach and Protest Songs


Legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach has "things he needs to say"; this time around though it seems love wont do, with a salvo aimed directly at the Bush administration with his new protest album "At This Time". Set for release through Columbia Records on November 1, the new set features a host of major guest stars, as well as a 25-piece backing orchestra. It's also the first time Bacharach has written lyrics to his music.

"People ask why a man who has been known for writing love songs all of his life is suddenly rocking the boat," Bacharach says. "I had to do it. This is very personal to me, and this is the most passionate album I have ever made.

Joining the Grammy winning artist is Dr. Dre, with whom Bacharach began working with several years ago. The hip-hop producer drops beats on three of the album's tracks. Costello performs "Who Are These People," describes as one of the album's most adventurous tracks; "Who are these people that keep telling us lies?/And how did these people get control of our lives?/And who'll stop the violence 'cause it's out of control/Make 'em stop," Costello sings. Meanwhile, Rufus Wainwright pops up to add vocals on "Go Ask Shakespeare," which includes the lyrics, "I've been hoping for a better day/It's a long time coming but I wait anyway/Life's a miracle or a foolish tale/I don't know/Go ask Shakespeare."

"I had to express myself, not only musically but lyrically. It was time for me to ask, 'who are these people who are taking control of our lives and how do we stop the violence?," adds Bacharach. "I've got two little kids and a 19-year-old son and I wonder what they're going to do with their lives. It's so personal to me that I even decided to do some of the singing. This is dedicated to my kids and your kids."
This has high Advancement potential, especially the collaboration with Dr. Dre. By the way, I saw a show on PBS about the history of protest music, with Dr. Dre serving as host and narrator. I enjoyed the incongruity of hearing him talking about Peter, Paul, and Mary, as they sang some old song while sitting on a couch. It made me think that Dr. Dre might discourage some of his friends from watching the show. Though if he is Advanced, as I suspect he is, he probably would tell you that he loves Peter, Paul, and Mary.

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