Now that we’re finding out the true meaning of the Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times!’, Billy Bragg, who has just published his acclaimed book Roots, Radicals & Rockers, returns to his full-time career as protest singer and will release a new single The Sleep Of Reason on the Cooking Vinyl label.
BUY/LISTEN TO THE SLEEP OF REASON HERE (https://CookingVinylAu.lnk.to/TSOR)
The Sleep Of Reason, inspired by a visit to The Prado gallery in Madrid where Billy saw Goya’s etching ‘The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters’, is an impassioned polemical anthem set to a stark buzzsaw melody. Written in response to the events of 2016, it is the first of several songs Billy plans to release over the course of the coming months.
Says Billy: “Life comes at you real fast these days. What’s a singer-songwriter to do when events keep challenging the way that we see the world? Before we’ve had a chance to digest one startling development, along comes another to throw us off balance again. I’ve been grubbing up songs for the past 12 months, but without the time to get an album together due to other projects, so I’ve decided to start dropping tracks as they become ready. As always, they’re my way of trying to make some sense of what’s going on.
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters is the name of an etching created in 1799 by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. The title struck a chord with me when trying to understand the events of last year. The lies and hubris of the Leave campaign in our EU referendum were echoed and amplified by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Only by restoring empathy and reason can we hope to defeat the monstrous forces of nationalism and untruth.”
Listen to The Sleep Of Reason here:
Billy Bragg has been a fearless recording artist, tireless live performer and peerless political campaigner for over 30 years. Among the former Saturday boy’s albums are his punk-charged debut Life’s a Riot With Spy Vs Spy, the more love-infused Workers Playtime, pop classic Don’t Try This At Home, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee-timed treatise on national identity England, Half-English, and his stripped-down tenth, Tooth & Nail, his most successful since the early 90s. The intervening three decades have been marked by a number one hit single, having a street named after him, being the subject of a South Bank Show, appearing onstage at Wembley Stadium, curating Left Field at Glastonbury, sharing spotted dick with a Cabinet minister in the House of Commons cafeteria, being mentioned in Bob Dylan’s memoir and meeting the Queen. At their best, Billy’s songs present ‘the perfect Venn diagram between the political and the personal’ (the Guardian).