British singer/songwriter Billy Bragg has released a new single/video for the song “The Sleep of Reason”. The single is available for streaming and downloading today via Cooking Vinyl Records.
The title is taken from a visit Bragg took to the famous Prado art gallery in Madrid, Spain where Bragg saw the famous 1799 Goya etching “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.” Lyrically the song is focused on the tumultuous events of 2016, with focus falling upon the UK and the referendum to leave the European Union as well as the election of Donald Trump. Bragg has announced that this is the first of many songs to follow in the coming months, in keeping with his strong tradition of politically minded music.
When asked about the inspiration for the song Bragg said
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters is the name of an etching created in 1799 by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. The title struck a chord with me when trying to understand the events of last year. The lies and hubris of the Leave campaign in our EU referendum were echoed and amplified by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Only by restoring empathy and reason can we hope to defeat the monstrous forces of nationalism and untruth.
Musically speaking “The Sleep of Reason” continues to merge jagged punk rock and indie rock overtones with a country style vocal delivery. Bragg delivers the vocals in his trademark low register, weaving in a mournful tale of modern politics gone wrong in between distorted electric guitar stabs.
Bragg has been busy in non-musical ventures as of late, publishing his first book Roots, Radicals & Rockers earlier this year but he is now gearing up for a rush of activity to close out 2017. In addition to the release of “The Sleep of Reason,” Bragg has announced dates for a month-long tour of Europe set to kick off in November.
You can watch the new video for “The Sleep of Reason” below:
Billy Bragg “Bridges Not Walls” Tour Dates
11/3 REYKJAVIK – Iceland Airwaves
11/5 BEXHILL – De La Warr Pavilion
11/6 LONDON – Islington Assembly Hall
11/8 CAMBRIDGE – Junction
11/10 OXFORD – O2 Academy
11/11 BIRMINGHAM – Town Hall
11/12 SHEFFIELD – The Leadmill
11/14 LIVERPOOL – Philharmonic Hall
11/15 EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall
11/16 NEWCASTLE – Wylam Brewery
11/18 NOTTINGHAM – Rock City
11/19 CARDIFF – Tramshed
11/21 SOUTHAMPTON – The Brook
11/22 LONDON – Clapham Grand
11/25 ANTWERP – De Roma
11/27 COLOGNE – Gloria Theatre
11/28 BERLIN – Heimathafen
11/29 FRANKFURT – Batschkapp
11/30 HAMBURG – Fabrik
Photo credit Raymond Flotat