Van Morrison will rage against the machine of government regulations in a new series of three anti-lockdown songs aimed at the U.K.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The notoriously cantankerous, 75-year-old Northern Irish singer has already made headlines in recent weeks for his call to fellow musicians to return to “full capacity audiences.” Last month he referred to the socially-distant concerts across Europe and the U.K. as “pseudo science,” despite having performed at the Virgin Money Unity Arena on September 3rd.
Morrison’s protest songs, which would have been perfect for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last month, will be titled “Born To Be Free”, “As I Walked Out”, and “No More Lockdown”. The songs are set for release via download and streaming platforms only and will come out respectively on September 25th, October 9th, and October 23rd.
“I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already,” Morrison said in a statement announcing the songs.
These new songs rail against the U.K government, celebrities, and the “”Imperial College scientists making up crooked facts,” as he states on “Lockdown”. Other catchy lines that will no doubt become the rallying cry of the next anti-mask flash mob at Target include, “Well, on the government website from the 21st March 2020/ It said COVID-19 was no longer high risk/ Then two days later/ They put us under lockdown,” which reads more like a Reddit comment than a lyric from a Grammy-winning songwriter.
One of the main cruxes of Morrison’s argument is that “it’s not economically viable to do socially distant gigs,” a point few would argue against. The manager of The Clapham Grand even said so publicly following the London venue’s test concert featuring Frank Turner in late July. Ally Wolf, who allowed her club to be a pilot event for indoor concerts, stated that while the event was certainly a boon to the spirits of both Turner and the audience, the venue didn’t even have enough money to cover its heightened expenses as a result of government-mandated COVID-19 precautions. In response, Turner forfeited his performance fee, prompting the British singer-songwriter to concur that such concerts are not a sustainable model.
Another theme that runs throughout Morrison’s protest songs is that the new normal is not normal, as he sings in “Born To Be Free”, “The new normal, is not normal/ It’s no kind of normal at all/ Everyone seems to have amnesia/ Just trying to remember the Berlin Wall.” The reference to the concrete divide between East and West Berlin aside, Morrison makes another point that nobody is arguing with: this is not normal. Is Van The Man convinced that every science-fearing liberal donning a mask enjoys doing it? That we all love bathing in hand sanitizer every time we return from the store?
All of Morrison’s songs give the impression that these opinions are all things that he alone has come to realize and must share with us, not dissimilar to the rantings of a middle-aged uncle on Facebook. Making obvious claims about how socially-distanced concerts aren’t economically viable or about how wearing a mask is strange is no more intuitive than writing an entire song about how a girl has brown eyes.
[H/T Consequence of Sound]