‘Red, White & Blue’ is a song that explores the relationship between masculinity, violence and capitalism - and the country where these relationships seem to thrive, America, and more importantly the place where all the negative qualities of masculinity culminate, Trump’s America.
At the start of this year I began writing a lot of songs based around the idea of womanhood, feminism, women’s rights - ‘Red, White & Blue’ is the product of the moment I delved deeper into the positive outcomes feminism has for men.
When exploring gender equality it’s so crucial to also delve into masculinity and the effect it has on stunting the emotional growth of boys. Suicide is rampant among young men and the damaging effects of the need to ‘be a man’ can mean life or death for some. Feminism is just as important for men as it is for women.
I read an interesting article on the concept of ‘hyper-masculinity’ in the Huffington Post that talks about the male and female battles with gender equality.
‘The difficulty with male gender oppression is the immediate wall you come up against upon its mention. How can men be oppressed when its men who are oppressive? The answer is that it is men who are oppressing themselves. Contrary to popular belief men are just as victimised by the darker side of gender as women; their battle is less well known because it is waged internally, behind closed doors.’ - Louis Michael
So throughout ‘Red, White & Blue’ I explore this concept of male oppression and the relationship masculinity has with capitalism, war, patriarchy, racism and violence.
Throughout the verses of the song I use water as a motif for oppression among men, the idea that they are living in an abundant and ‘free’ society, yet are trapped by their own unrealistic ideals. Their cries for help aren't heard in the school room or on the battlefield, because they are men and they should be ‘tough’.
The chorus’ explores more of a general idea of the world moving backwards due to America’s current political state. The idea that we were once in the flames and will soon be standing in our own ashes, all in the name of America the land of the free.
During the bridge, the mood changes, the vocals are moodier and purposefully sound more sexualised to juxtapose against the lyrics, which repeat a well known black lives matter slogan. The tone of this section plays on the idea that American culture always has the need to hyper-sexualise everything, no matter the context or subject matter.
Throughout this part of the song I’m delving into the contribution masculinity has made to racism and hatred, across the world. The normalisation of violence and the idea of ‘pack mentality’ among men have both deeply impacted white supremacy - I often wonder if without this innate desire to be ‘masculine’ and assert yourself whether racism would have been so rife in America.
The artwork for ‘Red, White & Blue’ features a photo of a collage I made around the same time I wrote the song. It features a lino print of the first draft of the American flag, which was actually designed by a woman but never pursued. It also features collaged images from an old playboy magazine, rosary beads and a small army figurine - all in the shape of a crucifix.
'Red, White & Blue' was written and produced by myself and Alex Middleton,
Thank you for reading,