Broken Promises

from by Jac Xe

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Question: This is a very political song, how would you reply to those who say musicians and politics shouldn't mix?

Jac: I don't think that's true. It's always been one of the functions of artists to say the things that need saying. Back in the middle ages it was the job of the court jester or bard to tell the king what was wrong in the kingdom and how foolish he was being. What's different in the modern world is that as soon as someone says anything that resonates with a large number of people the marketers jump on the bandwagon and try to use and distort that feeling in order to sell their products or to push through polices that only help themselves. It's become so hard to work out who's being genuine and who isn't and that's led to a lot of cynicism. And in a way you almost have to be a cynic to survive in our society we've been told so many lies.

Question: Is this politicians you are talking about?

Jac: Not just them – most of the lies are from advertising, I mean if you take what most advertisers say at face value it's just not true – you need to filter out the exaggeration. But it's not just what they say, it's how they manipulate emotions. For example, they use how music makes you feel and try to attach that feeling to their product. That's what the line 'all your love and fears used against you' is about. The song is about breaking through our protection from all of that marketing emotional manipulation by recognising how crazy it is to run around trying to compete against each other. Competition is the opposite of community. You can't have community if you are constantly trying to aspire to be better than your neighbours. Real community and real friendships are one thing that it's very hard for marketers to fake.

Question: So what does the line about the hammer and sickle mean are you suggesting communism?

Jac: No, no. not at all in fact the opposite. I'm saying communism as a system was broken from the start. It's a bogey man used to frighten us into thinking there's no alternative but to keep the present system and not change. I mean, the communists banned all private property and shut down all businesses. If you read 'Russia In The Shadows' by HG Wells about his trip to the USSR in 1920 you get a totally different view about what communism really was and how mad it actually is. It was obvious from the start that it would end up as this terrible totalitarian regime. In reality there's so many different ways to do things. To say it's either full blown capitalism or it's communism is rubbish. It's not even as if you have to have a system that lies on the same scale. We're taught that there's this line between communism and capitalism and that politics swings back and forth along it but there is no such line it just limits thinking to a 19th century world view. There's always more than two ways to approach anything in fact there's likely to be hundreds if not thousands of ways. We need to get together and crystallise some of them, and the most important thing is that it needs to have respect for people at it's heart so whatever people come up with is going to lead to a better world.

lyrics

Competition;
The sedition of all else besides the self
Yeah, save us from our wealth

Looking up and down;
Try to put things in a line and wonder where I'm fitting in
and where I should be if I win.

And the haunting of the promises that more will solve it all
are wearing thin.

All your love and fears;
all your instincts used against you to entice you in to buying in
to needing to be led

Broken Promises;
well I guess that they're the making of the cynic
trying desperately to bring it
to a head.

And we're hanging out the meat above the sheets
to tempt the wolf into our bed

Make your mind up, boy!
Make your mind up, girl!
Means the world to know that every toy you get
is only to forget
the emptiness
and we're needing to be touched behind the curtains
that we put up to protect

Played off 'gainst each other
Getting fat on drinking sand
Cause it's branded as a loving mother's milk
She tells me I...

Got to get ahead
When I've come to dread
the very time I spend pursuing what I'm
taught I ought to need
when the real value of it comes to nought

And I've come to see I'll never get
the feelings that were promised when I bought

Something's got to give
they've no alternative
but a hammer and a sickle that were
rusted up and busted from the start
so its the market for us all

Well ain't it time we got together
and we worked out how to run things from the heart?

credits

from Jac Xé, released October 13, 2011

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