Billy Bragg – The Internationale. No irony curtain here.
Seven years after Dazzle Ships out came the Billy Bragg ep of which this is the title track. It makes for an interesting comparison, Both connected by themes of internationalism and left wing politics, whether about the ideals or about the outcome of ideological struggle on individual lives.
Whereas the OMD song was lyrically empty, the song itself is one of great passion and beautiful melancholy. The Billy Bragg one, by contrast, is heavy-handed in its didactic determinism of a glorious socialist future. a world of struggle against the oppressors. Although in trusting in time-worn cliches, any clearer meaning gets somewhat lost in the vacuity of a leftwing Coca Cola advert soundtrack.
And the singing, Billy’s dirge and the worthy choirs, accompanied by trumpets and kettle drums sounds like something from a Soviet May Day parade.
Don’t get me wrong. I approve this message of international solidarity and welcome efforts to bring about lasting and sustainable peace and justice. I just wish that Billy’s typical lyrical verve and songwriting skills had been brought more into effect here.