This is the video for Ian Brown’s latest single ‘Illegal Attacks’ with Sinead O’Connor.
From British daily The Guardian:
What happened to political pop?
Ian Brown‘s new anti-war single is the first time in ages that a major UK pop star has made such a direct statement on a record. Why is everyone else keeping quiet?
Ian Brown has always been outspoken. In the Stone Roses, he explained that he always thought that when he became famous he’d make a statement wanting “Camelot to stop.” Thus, lo and behold on the first Stone Roses album was the deceptively sweet Elizabeth, My Dear, a song which sounded like Simon and Garfunkel but called for the cessation of the Royal Family and “curtains” for the Queen. …
Well, 18 years later he’s finally topped both of them. King Monkey’s new single – Illegal Attacks, accompanied by a reportedly hard-hitting video unveiled on Channel 4 tonight – is, as the title suggests, a not-veiled-at-all attack on the Iraq and Afghan occupations and Israel’s raids on Palestinians.
Occasionally vocally aided by Sinead O’ Connor – no stranger to controversy herself – Brown goes for the jugular from the opening salvo: “So what the fuck is this UK / Gunnin’ with this US of A / In Iraq and Iran and in Afghanistan…” although the F-word won’t be heard on the versions played on the radio (otherwise it would not be played, thus negating the point.) …
It’s brilliant, uncompromising, stuff, one of his best ever singles, leading onto Brown’s insistence that “these are illegal attacks”,” complaining about the various wars’ illegality under international law, “contracts for contacts” and finally laying it squarely on the table with an insistence that we should “bring the soldiers back.”
He’s not entirely flying in the face of popular opinion, but – with the possible exception of some of Damon Albarn’s lyrics on The Good, the Bad and the Queen and George Michael’s jokey quips about Blair and Bush on Shoot The Dog – this is the first time a major UK pop star has made such a direct statement on a record … certainly on a single surely bound for the top five.
And I wonder why? Why has everyone else been afraid to say what so many of us – judging from the protests against the bloody wars in the first place – so plainly believe? What is pop afraid of?
When I was a kid, I learned more about politics from records by bands like the Gang Of Four and the Clash than I ever did in school or college, and Brown’s opus brings that feeling back. If someone was confused about the issues surrounding the various invasions, Brown’s lyrics make them crystal clear – even dissecting the greed for oil zones and effect on the Dow Jones – with a simplicity and directness that is brutally effective.