With the Trump administration open for business, the onslaught of protest songs has begun. Both the Secretly Group’s Our First 100 Days and Dave Eggers’ 1000 Days, 1000 Songs projects debuted on Friday. More on those interrelated endeavors later.
Meanwhile, there’s “I Give You Power,” an unconnected new protest song from the Montreal rock band Arcade Fire and Chicago gospel great Mavis Staples that sets the rabble rousing bar high for others to follow.
Its low-down groove outshines anything on the band’s overblown 2013 double album Reflektor. Naming no names, it lays out the populist give-and-take premise of democracy with inspiring simplicity and benefits enormously from the musical and moral gravitas of the 77 year old Staples, a veteran of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.
“I give you power, but now I say,” Staples and band leader Win Butler sing in unison. “I give you power, I can take it away.” The song was issued with a jointly signed statement from the band and Staples: “It’s never been more important that we stick together and take care of each other.” All proceeds go to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Check it out below.