In December of last year Sleeper released their first new music in…bloody ages.
“Look at you Now” is now set for a limited physical release before an entire album’s worth of new music follows in March. To celebrate both events we have a new video to accompany the single.
Right now you can only view it on the CLASH site but I’ll wait here for you while you take a look…
In the accompanying comments Louise Wener has this to say about the song and the choice of images and footage in the video;
“It’s a song about feeling disenfranchised. Politics, on every side, is pushing to the extremes, ideas we thought we’d left behind in the 20th century.”
“When we were putting together the artwork for our new album we got really into film footage from the 1950s and 60s: political rallies, crap B movies, and public information films. We wanted to use the chaos of those images to show our political landscape in the midst of a nervous breakdown.”
“If there’s a message it’s this: chose reason and debate over dogma, otherwise we might all be a bit fucked.”
(Louise Wener, Clash Magazine, January 2019)
What is interesting about those remarks is that I had this to say about the song back in December;
“The land that raised us, was full of wheat, now the fields lay fallow and the blood runs deep”
I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore Toto.
A reminisce of Britain as Albion…a land where the fields were full of wheat but where now “fields lay fallow” and “blood runs deep” manages to invoke the bleak truth of food bank Britain and force us to address a past that includes mainstream politicians talking about “rivers of blood” in relation to race.
This is Britpop in the time of Brexit.
While it might be easy to see the following lines as a bit of gentle poking at past their sell-by date rockers, I think the truth is something much more serious;
“Look at you now, you’re running out of things to wear…still playing all your hits, but that won’t take you anywhere.”
Could it be that the notion of Britain itself trading on past glories is what Wener is really hitting at? A call to be slightly more outward looking? A rejection of the current political climate?”
(Sleeper – Look at you Now, December 2018)
While we have all long acknowledged that Wener knows what she is talking about it now appears that maybe I do too.
The video itself presents a stark reminder of what happens when we allow ourselves to slip to the extremes in politics and while some may see that as a call to the centre ground the truth is that there is plenty of reasonable room on either side of the centre. People who believe in entrepreneurial capitalism over massive corporations are not the same as Jacob Rees-Mogg. People who believe in free, universal health care are not the same as Mao. Reasonable people on both sides agree on problems…their differences lie only in how to deal with those problems.
What “Look at you Now” reminds us about is what happens when we lose sight of the things we have in common, when we turn to the past over looking to the future and when we stop negotiating and start simply blaming.
Alternatively you may see it as a series of cool images with a proper banger of a tune.
Up to you.
Who am I?