David Brewis is half of the UK pop group Field Music, along with his brother Peter. But he’s also released a couple solo albums under the School Of Language moniker. Today, he adds a third: 45, a surprise concept album about the President of the United States, just in time for his visit to the UK.
As you might have guessed when Brewis announced the album yesterday via Instagram, this is wacky art-pop at its best. I mean, the album cover even looks like a bizarre cubist take on the president. The lyricism juxtaposed to the musicality does a bit of the same interpretative work. Jaunty, angular beats underly caricatures of some of the real, yet batshit insane things our president has uttered. On “Nobody Knows,” Brewis rambles a list of subjects our Cheeto-in-Chief has claimed he knows more about than anyone.
While I’d love to laugh at the oddity that is reality at the moment, it really just makes me sad. 45 was written and recorded in a little less than two months. It draws inspiration from a variety of sources on our current political landscape including Bob Woodward’s book Fear and articles from the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. I can also see this album being turned into a musical in the future — you know, after the international embarrassment wears off. I don’t even have to tell you what “Lock Her Up” is about.
Here’s Brewis with more on how 45 came to be:
For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by US politics and that fascination became an obsession in the run up to the 2016 election. It really made me wonder as to whether I had any understanding of people whatsoever. It feels like Trump’s success has rendered in perfect detail every fault line in Western democracy – how profile beats policy, how corporate interests overwhelm the needs of ordinary people and how ethics and the rule of law are at the mercy of partisanship. To be honest, I could probably have written twice as many songs such is the wealth of scarcely believable material surrounding the Trump administration. It’s like King Lear populated by the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here in the UK, I feel far enough removed that I can turn my revulsion into satire. I don’t think I could do the same with Brexit. It’s too close.
Listen to 45 below.
45 is out now on Memphis Industries. A percentage of every digital purchase goes to Planned Parenthood and The Alliance for Choice in Northern Ireland.