Randy Newman is apparently releasing a new album early next year — his first studio album since 2008’s Harps And Angels — and he’s announcing it by dropping a new song called “Putin” right in the middle of a contentious election cycle where the Russian president is frequently brought up as a topic of conversation and comparison. As the legendary singer-songwriter explains to The Washington Post, the song was inspired by those infamous photos of Putin riding around shirtless on a horse. “A person with that much extraordinary amount of power, doing things like that is disturbing but also kind of amusing,” he explains to the Post.
In the same interview, he also expresses a negative opinion of Donald Trump: “You keep wondering whether people will see that he’s a liar and not very bright. […] It’s a big surprise to me about the country that there are 40 million people prepared to vote for [Trump.] They wouldn’t want him as a friend. No matter who you are, you wouldn’t want him on your bowling team or to have dinner with him or anything. They would recognize it immediately in a guy. A big blowhard, braggart.”
“Putin” is a theatrical, orchestral number styled after traditional Russian music, and features a chorus of voices known as the “Putin Girls.” Some choice lyrics: “When he takes his shirt off, he drives the ladies crazy/ When he takes his shirt off, makes me wanna be a lady.” The song was partially inspired by a 1943 Willie Johnson propaganda song called “Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’.” Listen to it below.
During the last election cycle, Newman released a pro-Obama song called “I’m Dreaming.”