Sturgill Simpson – “Sing Along” Video

This fall, the culty country star Sturgill Simpson was supposed to be on movie screens, starring in the satirical horror movie The Hunt. That won’t happen. Donald Trump, apparently misinterpreting what kind of satire The Hunt was supposed to be, tweeted angrily about it, and the movie’s studio cancelled its release. But another Sturgill Simpson-affiliated movie is coming out next month. In September, Simpson will release Sound & Fury, the much-anticipated follow-up to his great 2016 breakthrough A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. And on the very same day, Netflix will also release Sound & Fury, the new anime film that exists as a companion piece to Simpson’s album.

Simpson unveiled the trailer for Sound & Fury at Comic-Con last month. It’s a strange, ambitious project. The movie is a dystopian tale built on a story that Simpson wrote, and it’s set entirely to songs from the album. Simpson worked on the film with Jumpei Mizusaki, the anime veteran who last directed the 2018 movie Batman Ninja. Every song on the album will have its own segment in the movie.

As for the album, Simpson calls it “a sleazy, steamy rock ‘n’ roll record,” and it promises to sound nothing like the adventurous, personal mutant-country of Simpson’s last album. He recorded it in Michigan with the members of his touring band — Bobby Emmett, Chuck Bartels, Miles Miller — and all of them serve as co-producers alongside Simpson and Portugal. The Man/Santigold collaborator John Hill.

Simpson’s video for “Sing Along” doubles as an early look at the movie, which seems like it will be absolutely nuts. But Simpson didn’t want to release a single and only did so at his label’s request, as he explained to Zane Lowe in an interview today:

I was kind of in a weird spot when we made that record. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this anymore because a lot of the business sides of things, and like some heartbreak and betrayal, and just learning things that you already know. Remind yourself that, you know — it is a dirty toxic industry. And I wanted to express a lot of that. And I was listening to a lot of hip-hop, and Black Sabbath, and the Cars, and old funk records and things. And I think… We were in Detroit while we were making the record, and I was sort of writing it in real time and listening to a lot of Eminem. And I was just like, man, this guy gets to talk mad shit. How come we can’t do that? So I just sat down and wrote a bunch of mad shit-talking songs about how fucking awesome we are. And then we recorded it. And then I said, man, this isn’t weird enough. I should probably go to Japan and like get the five most legendary animation directors in history together and get them all drunk and put them to competition to see who can outdo one another and we’ll just animate the whole fucking album. And then that happens and I got the label to pay for it, and then now they want to put a single out. Even though I made a cohesive concept record and a film, we’re putting a song and a cartoon out as a video, which I didn’t want to make. And now I’m talking to Zane Lowe about it. What’s up dog?

He also elaborated on the thinking behind his eclectic approach:

We did the [2017] Grammys, and I had like a really severe sinus infection which I thought was allergies, and borderline meningitis, and they had to put all this stuff in me so I could go out and sing that night. It was kind of like one of the worst days in my life. So I got stuck out in LA for about three weeks. I couldn’t fly home until I had this sinus surgery and they scraped all my sinus cavities out. So I got to lay out in California for about a month recovering from that. And they gave me all these Percocet and pain pills and stuff that I was not going to go anywhere near. So I just had my buddy Gino bring me a bunch of like medical strength edibles, and I laid in the bed for about a week just high as giraffe balls, and listening to all my old favorite records I hadn’t listened to in decades. And I just sort of realized, you know, you can be a commodity and just making the same record over and over just to appease people and hope they show up and give a shit, or you can just be a musician. And so the guys in my band and I, we just in the last couple of years doing the things we love, which is being a bunch of music geeks who grew up on classic rock, and hip hop, and country music, and blues, and everything, and throwing that into a big melting pot. And we realized the only way we’re going to get paid is to go play shows, so we might as well make it fun for us, and we made a record that was very fun for us. And then I can not wait to get out on the stage and play with my brothers.

Below, watch the video and check out the Sound & Fury tracklist.

TRACKLIST:
01 “Ronin”
02 “Remember To Breathe”
03 “Sing Along”
04 “A Good Look”
05 “Make Art Not Friends”
06 “Best Clockmaker On Mars”
07 “All Said And Done”
08 “Last Man Standing”
09 “Mercury In Retrograde”
10 “Fastest Horse In Town”

Sound & Fury is out 9/27 on Elektra.