I don’t feel it’s me. I love melodies and love rhythms.
“I don’t think you have to be Punk to make political music,” she continued. “I have an example — What’s Going On, the album by Marvin Gaye. It’s a super, super political album and the music is ultra-sophisticated, sensual and absolutely beautiful. So there you go.”
And some of her new album’s songs (it’s her second solo record since Stereolab suspended activity in 2009) are very political. “Auscultation to the Nation,” one of the Silencio’s most appealing Rock tunes with its early-REM-style guitar strumming and the way Sadier’s voice hits haunting high notes, is truly a screed. The English lyrics come from a direct transcription of a caller to a French radio show who was upset by the G-20’s global influence. (The G-20, which includes political figures from the world’s major economies, discusses and plans global economic policies and is a subject of great concern to the left.)
“Enough already with the dictatorship, tyranny of money/we want a real democracy,” Sadier sings, very sprightly.
“I heard this and it was so raw and direct,” Sadier said of the song’s phone-call source material. “I thought I should be hearing this 10 times a day.”
“The Rules of the Game” is a more gentle, artful dissection of the “ruling class,” melodically slower with a dark, spellbinding drifting-blues quality that envelops her voice in sadness. It’s inspired by the classic French movie of the same name that Jean Renoir made in 1939, just before World War II, about the out-of-touch bourgeoisie as the world was turning dangerously violent.
“They’re so careless about what’s going on in the state of world,” she explained of the film’s subjects. “Hitler is about to take over, build an empire, and they’re going, ‘Ha, ha, ha.’
“I feel there’s a parallel to this day and the state of democracy and our carelessness and indifference to what is going on. That was what I wanted to describe in this album. Be human, do not be aggressive — but also talk about what’s going on.”
The well-traveled, well-read Sadier has strong opinions about the rise of the right-wing Tea Party in the U.S. and its opposition to government-guaranteed health care for all. It is not a humane democratic people’s movement to her, and she expresses why with eloquent clarity.
“To me that’s using certain ideas against the people rather than for the people,” she said. “It’s based on total individualism and selfish behavior, and they (confuse) this with freedom: ‘I am free to do whatever I want.’ Well, yes, if you were alone maybe you could do whatever the hell you wanted. But we work as a complex and multiple organism — as a society. Not as a solo individual who can do whatever they bloody well like. It’s insane to think like that.
“Of course, we’re all individuals and we have to blossom as such, but in respect to others,” she continued. “That’s absolutely fundamental. I think the Tea Party generally are completely deluding themselves in thinking they’ll never need a hospital or anything. It’s animalistic. It’s the law of the jungle.”
But she has a suggestion for the Tea Party. Make art … and music. “The beauty of art is that you can do what you like,” she said. “That’s what we should say to the Tea Party. Get into art and be creative. Because there is a real space that’s open and totally free and you’re not going to harm anyone.”
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