Sir Mick Jagger has just released two singles riffing on Brexit and the global climate, including US President Donald Trump.
Jagger dropped the tracks on YouTube and major streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify, on Thursday — just a day after his 74th birthday.
Although neither song explicitly mentions Brexit or Trump, the themes obviously influenced Jagger’s lyrics.
In “England Lost,” the Rolling Stones frontman describes an England football fan who went to a match in a rain, only to see his team lose.
“I went to see England but England lost,” he repeats throughout the song.
While ostensibly about a football match, the song is “about a feeling that we are in a difficult moment in our history,” Jagger said in a press statement published by the LA Times. “It’s about the unknowability about where you are and the feeling of insecurity.”
“I had a girl in Lisbon, a girl in Rome,” the father-of-eight sings. “Now I’ll have to stay at home.”
His second track, “Gotta Get A Grip,” is broader in its themes. He paints a picture of a bleak world of fake news (“The news is all fake”), carnivorism (“Let ’em eat chicken and let ’em eat steak”), immigration (“Immigrants are pouring in / Refugees under your skin / Keep ’em under, keep ’em out / Intellectual, shut your mouth”), terrorism (“Chaos, crisis, instability, ISIS / Lies and scandals, wars, and vandals”), and cybercrime (“Metadata scams and policy shams”).
Trump can claim, with some credibility, to have popularised the phrase “fake news,” while Jagger’s lines on immigration hint at the US president’s travel ban.
Jagger hopes to convey the message that “despite all those things that are happening, you gotta get on with your own life, be yourself, and attempt to create your own destiny,” the singer wrote in his press statement.
A string of musicians, including British grime artist Skepta and Australian Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, have already contributed to remixes of the songs.
“Right from the off when I started writing England Lost, I imagined having a British rapper on the track,” Jagger wrote on Facebook. “Skepta stepped in at a moments [sic] notice and I just loved what he did.”This is not Jagger’s first foray into politics.
Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign manager and an adviser to David Cameron’s EU referendum campaign, wrote in 2015 that Jagger was “one of the savviest political observers.” The rocker had even given him advice on how to help Cameron stop Brexit.
Jagger started writing the songs in April and had wanted to release them immediately, the rocker said in his press statement. The Rolling Stones are scheduled to tour Europe, but not the UK, later this year.