Rolling Stones singer says England Lost reflects countrys vulnerability while Gotta Get a Grip bemoans fake news and politics led by lunatics
Mick Jagger at 74 has delivered his first solo musical foray into political commentary, with a pair of new songs that deliver grimly mocking takes on the age of Brexit and Trump.
The celebrated Rolling Stones frontman released England Lost and Gotta Get A Grip on Thursday, saying he wrote them while stirred by anxiety [and] unknowability of the changing political situation.
The songs represent Jaggers first solo appearance on any release since 2011 and follows last years Stones album, Blue & Lonesome.
Both tracks feature a sardonic Jagger half-singing, half-spitting his lines in a primitive rap over programmed beats and burring, blues-rock guitar riffs.
Jagger said in a statement he rushed to release the songs, which he began writing just a few months ago, while they still reflected the transatlantic political climate that spawned them.
We obviously have a lot of problems. So am I politically optimistic? No, Jagger said.
England Lost uses a disenchanted, plain-speaking football fan as the narrator for what he said was the feeling that we are in a difficult moment in our history.
Its a rough, rambling but ready vocal performance, with some blunt one-liners: I went to see England but England lost / I went round the back but they said piss off.
Jagger then sings hell go home and smoke a joint after a match he didnt even want to go to, before adding: I went to find England and it wasnt there/ I think I lost it down the back of my chair / I think Im losing my imagination/ Im tired of talking about immigration / You cant get in and you cant get out / I guess thats what its really all about.
Jagger said: Its obviously got a fair amount of humour because I dont like anything too on the nose but its also got a sense of vulnerability of where we are as a country.
If the England Lost music video is anything to go by, its clear enough that Jagger one of the great re-exporters of US folk music to American audiences, whose band made arguably its best album while holed up in France as tax exiles has misgivings about a Britain turning inward.
It features Welsh actor Luke Evans as a polite, well dressed gentleman in a cryptic scenario where he is fleeing a menacing array of compatriots who end up dragging him back from the surf as he apparently tries to swim beyond British shores.
Gotta Get A Grip is a kaleidoscopic diatribe about a political culture led by lunatics and clowns who are content for a public fed fake news and policy shams to eat shit [and] cake.
Gotta keep it zipped / shoot em from the hip / beat em with a stick, goes the modus operandi, along with an absurd journey into the modern cult of self-improvement.
Ive tried diversion and Ive tried coercion/ meditation and medication / LA culture and aquapuncture / over-eating and sex in meetings / induced insanity, Christianity / long walks and fast drives / wild clubs and low dives.
Jagger, the consummate businessman at the helm of the definitive music industry juggernaut for nigh-on five decades, doesnt serve up any profound escape routes from the individualist bind at the core of neo-Liberalism, a corresponding populist lurch to the far right, or whatever else.
He offered this take on the songs message: 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 Gotta Get A Grip music video features Jemima Kirke of Girls fame as a cigarette-smoking protagonist, in an array of sweaty nightclub revellers whose attempts to get down seem to turn into a laboured, solemn frenzy.
The release includes five remixes calling on a cadre of musicians that Jagger says reflects his current playlist, including British rapper and grime artist Skepta and Australian psychedelic rocker, Tame Impalas Kevin Parker.
Right from the off when I started writing England Lost, I imagined having a British rapper on the track, Jagger said. Skepta stepped in at a moments notice and I just loved what he did.
Jagger said he only began writing the songs in April and wanted them out straight away, eschewing the usual record company preparations and global release set-up.
Its always refreshing to get creative in a different fashion and I feel a slight throwback to a time when you could be a bit more free and easy by recording on the hoof and putting it out there immediately, he said.
I didnt want to wait until next year when these two tracks might lose any impact and mean nothing.