In early October, one of my favorite bands of all time, The Avett Brothers, released a new album titled “Closer Than Together”. The album offers fans a handful of songs that, while not ripped directly from the headlines, nevertheless offer damning commentary on some of the more appalling aspects of America circa 2019.
One of the songs, “We Americans” is about the parts of America that are apparently easier to ignore than fix. Its lyrics are as confrontational as any I have ever heard from the band: “I am a son of Uncle Sam, and I struggle to understand / The good and evil / But I’m doing the best I can / In a place built on stolen land / With stolen people.”
This type of tone is rather abnormal for the Avett Brothers to take on, however; I find it refreshing to be challenged by a song coming from my favorite pair of singing brothers. While “We Americans” focuses on America and all of it’s struggles (past and present), another song caught my feminist radar’s attention.
The 10th song on this album, “New Woman’s World” creates a kind of post-apocalyptic feeling where the men have quite literally destroyed the Earth (not too far from reality if you ask me). In the chorus, they sing “I’m glad it’s finally in the hands of the women and the girls/ I can’t wait to see what they do with what’s left of the world”.
This line does two things for me, the first being that the brothers are acknowledging the fact that men in power have seriously fucked up the world. They also recognize the fact that women are finally starting to hold positions of power and this might just be the change that the world needs.
The Avett Brothers, whether they know it or not, have entered a very dangerous game by producing this album. Not only will people oppose their beliefs and messages conveyed on this album, but they also have to do the difficult job of not offending anyone.
With any song, there is always a chance for misinterpretation. With a song like “New Woman’s World”, there is a good chance of people critiquing it because it paints one gender in such a negative light. However, what I would tell these people is to shut up and deal with it.
I would like for all of you to try and think of a song that degrades women. If you are having any kind of trouble, let me offer some help. Just look up Kanye West, or Eminem, or Chris Brown, or literally ANY MALE RAPPER EVER and you should have no problems.
In my opinion, the band did something with this album that I have not seen or heard of in a while. This album shows the brothers singing their truth about the world, pulling no punches and confronting listeners with music that stops them dead in their tracks, whether they like it or not.
In the world we live in, with every major shooting getting swept under the rug in the matter of days, or where our President can say “grab her by the pussy” and get away with it, we need more messages like this album. We need more musicians and people of fame to use their power for good, for spreading good instead of the normal songs about sex, drugs, and degrading women.
The album is not all political, however; the ‘opinionated’ songs, at least in my mind, are the ones that stick out to me the most. It is incredibly refreshing to listen to a song so full of honesty that it makes you do some self-reflection. I think more people need to feel that way about music and art in general and I think more artists need to use their outlet in a more productive way.
I will leave you all with this, so far, humanity has been run by men in power. So far, these men have put us in the worst possible position for the earth to survive. So far, women have been behind the curtains and on the sideline waiting to prove to the world that they are more than capable of running it. The Avett Brothers believe in them, and so do I.