In May, the Alt-country band Son Volt announced their upcoming new album Electro Melodier will be released on July 30th. Now the band has shared “Livin’ In The USA” from the album, along with a nostalgic lyrics video. The band got the name for their song from two vintage amplifiers and with that, set the tone for their new album, a mix of folk, country, blues and rock.
Talking about the meaning behind the new song, singer/songwriter Jay Farrar explains, “The song didn’t start out as an intentional homage thing, but in retrospect I see it as a nod to Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ or Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’,” Farrar says. “Those songs established a thematic tradition. I’m just updating and asking similar questions. How can so much wrong happen in this country that’s held up as an example of what’s righteous? Is America the healthiest or happiest country? Democratic Darwinism is the brutal American reality…”
The lyrics video shows different typical American cities and landmarks, like Seattle or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, but also nature that is often associated with the country, like the desert in the South or the cornfields of the mid-west. All this while Farray sings about other typical things associated with the USA, like freedom and fossil fuels. For some listeners, the song might be raising the question, how great is the greatest country on earth? While the video by itself has a nostalgic charm, the song only matches this tune-wise. The song itself really does sound like a combination of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. The country rock is slow and down to earth. While the song lyrics are critical of the current state of the country, a glimpse of hope is always present, like the band hopes for a better future.