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“Bread and Circus”: A Playlist (reposted from Facebook)


I wrote this song in March of 2016, but with a sneaking suspicion that a lot of very ill-informed (at best) citizens were going to elect a reality-TV star to the highest level of power in this country, because I saw how willing people were to scapegoat the innocent in order to feel better about themselves and to overlook blatant misinformation coupled with misogyny, racism, and cruelty because it served their needs (or in some instances matched their own character).

I had David Bowie in mind as I composed both the melody and lyrics, and, when I went to record The General Electorate version, 80s Bowie in particular in mind (hence the inclusion of “Absolute Beginners” and “Never Let Me Down” in the playlist). Dan Lewis’s bass work on this track really channels that 80s Bowie bass sound perfectly!


But Bowie was just the beginning of influences on this track’s arrangement. Bowie was an omnivore and a chameleon: he both absorbed influences which he catalyzed and transformed into new creations, and, in return, he influenced other artists (sometimes in a self-repeating cycle as those artists re-absorbed his transformations of their own innovations). More than anything, Bowie’s SCARY MONSTERS and LET’S DANCE albums spawned the New Romantic movements and helped foster much of what would be the mid-80s be deemed Goth. This playlist celebrates those artists.


The rhythm guitars on this track are drenched in reverb and flange, something heavily incorporated in the most “organic” (i.e. less synth-driven) tracks by the Cocteau Twins, mid-to-late 80s The Cure, and early Duran Duran. Also featured in this set list are some great New Romantic artists such as ABC, Thompson Twins, Boy George & Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, and Wang Chung, as well as songs in the New Romantic vein from artists who aren’t themselves New Romantics — The Police, Tears for Fears, XTC, Devo, and Joy Division. These latter songs tend to skew political and lean left, much like The General Electorate.


Here is the LINK TO THE BREAD AND CIRCUS playlist. Please give it a listen so that you can enjoy both our song and the wonderful artists and songs that helped to influence our writing and recording.


BREAD AND CIRCUS LYRICS:


There’s so little from the heart, so little for the soul, So much to distract you from being whole. Religion’s a carnival. You get your faith on a stick From the barker at the midway or sideshow: take your pick. It’s all the same, it’s all the same. Pay the admission, but don’t be shocked to learn it’s a rigged game. It’s all the same, it’s all the same. It’s there to distract and entertain. Bread and circus, elephants and clowns. Drink deep the very spectacle in which you drown. Bread and circus, elephants and clowns. While you nurse the morning after, we’ll pull the stakes up from the ground.


You’ll find nothing here of depth enough to gull a fool, But you can sink civilization in a looking pool Jesus walked in rags, wandered the world without a home. How do you suppose he’d feel about your McMansions and your private thrones? It’s all the same, it’s all the same. Pay the admission, but don’t be shocked to learn it’s a rigged game. It’s all the same, it’s all the same. It’s there to distract and entertain. Bread and circus, elephants and clowns. Drink deep the very spectacle in which you drown. Bread and circus, elephants and clowns. While you nurse the morning after, we’ll pull the stakes up from the ground.


We promise you to save the babies, at least the ones not yet born. The living lie discarded, disenfranchised, and forlorn.

Bread and circus, elephants and clowns. Drink deep the very spectacle in which you drown. Bread and circus, elephants and clowns. While you nurse the morning after, we’ll pull the stakes up from the ground.