A reflection of the societal changes of Brexit
Richard Dawson has released his 6th solo album, 2020. The storyline of this 10-track album includes personal narratives that reflect societal topics such as anti-capitalist themes set in Newcastle upon Tyne, Dawsons hometown. He accompanies these stories with complex, rough sounding instruments to express the emotions represented through the lyrics.
Newcastle is currently a society on the edge of a meltdown. One of the most popular societal changes is Brexit, which is the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. This 2-year process has caused chaos, which is reflected throughout Dawson’s newest album.
The album opens up with the song, “Civil Servant.” This song is a first-person narrative where Dawson discusses the chaos of society, societal issues he faces and his urge to protest against work. He sings, “why is it their Disability Living Allowance will be stopping shortly,” where he sympathizes with those who are disabled because of the loss of the Disability Living Allowance policy. This policy provides paid assistance to people living with disabilities in order to atone for the higher cost of living that often comes with disability. Dawson presumably views this as prejudiced and wrongful and accompanies this line with very little instruments. As this line is the last line of the chorus, he goes from singing in falsetto accompanying a loud electric guitar with intense reverb and drums to almost completely a cappella with single plucked notes on electric guitar that slightly mirror the melody of the lyrics.
Another track on the album, “Jogging” is also a first-person narrative where Dawson expresses his anxiety and paranoia. He says, “Dr. Shen prescribed me beta-blockers/ and recommended taking daily exercise.” Beta-blockers are a prescription commonly used to help with anxiety. This song could stray from many different circumstances, however, judging by the other tracks on the album it’s predictable that Dawson’s societal environment could be a tremendous weighing factor on his mental health.
This album can be listened to in about an hour, as each song is anywhere from 50 seconds, to a solid ten minutes. “Fulfilment Centre” is the longest track on the album, lasting ten minutes and 8 seconds. The shortest track is “No-One” which is solely an instrumental track with a growling, loud breathing sound and a high pitched whistle, lasting 50 seconds.