Will Butler - The Guardian

Will Butler – The Guardian (5 singles). Unofficial artwork.

01. Clean Monday
02. Waving Flag
03. You Must Be Kidding
04. Madonna Can’t Save Me Now
05. By The Waters Of Babylon

 Artist  Will Butler
 Release  The Guardian (5 singles)
 Format  Soundcloud streams
 Release date  23-27 February 2015
 Catalogue number  –
 Label  –
 Note Will Butler wrote a song a day for a week (Mon-Fri) based on a news story in The Guardian.

01. Clean Monday
Article the song is based on: http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/feb/23/greek-bailout-markeks-rally-ftse-100-reforms-live
Will: “I’m rooting for Greece. I mean, broadly, who the hell isn’t rooting for Greece? Even if you’re super right wing, or super German, or super capitalist you probably don’t want Greece tumbling out of the Euro and defaulting on its debts.

But beyond that, I like that they’re a young government. I like Yanis Varoufakis, the new finance minister. To a certain extent, I’ve bought into the media portrayal of him (from the Guardian and NPR and all over) as a straight shooting rapscallion who might – just might – be crazy enough to, um, responsibly manage the Greek financial situation?

I was reading the Guardian’s live coverage of the forthcoming Greek proposals of how they’re going to pay off their debts, when a little blurb popped up explaining that the Greek markets were closed today because it was “Clean Monday” – the Greek Orthodox equivalent of Ash Wednesday. It was an amazing/hilarious (well, maybe mildly amusing) coincidence to me that the Greek ministers were scrambling and figuring out how to avoid strict austerity on the day that Lent starts.

And all this scrambling is just to figure out the next few months. It’s gonna be a long winter, and a long spring, and maybe a really long summer for Greece. But my fingers are crossed.”


02. Waving Flag
Articles the song is based on: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/23/anti-apartheid-hero-moses-kotanes-remains-repatriated-russia + http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/23/ukraine-separatists-soviet-holiday-mens-day-donetsk
Will: “I was barely alive for the Cold War. I mean, I was alive, but I don’t particularly remember it. I was born in 1982. But I still have a deep American kneejerk suspicion of Soviet communism. What can I say? Though, really, that suspicion is somewhat justified by the horrific history of the Soviet Union.


My initial reaction to reading about the repatriation of Moses Kotane’s body to South Africa from Russia was influenced by my distrust of communism. Was he really a great man? The answer: yes. And then I thought, how horrifying that my initial reaction to reading about a hero of the anti-apartheid movement was vague suspicion. For all their failings, the Communists were the only political entity in South Africa for years that talked about racial equality. They were the only integrated party for years and years. They worked for democracy and to help the poor. So, yes, I am an asshole.

Moses Kotane: nationalist, pro-Soviet great guy.

And then I was reading about the Ukraine separatists, our latest pro-Soviet nationalists, and I thought, man, what jerks. I don’t doubt that there are members of the separatists that genuinely feel like a beset upon minority. But the shape of the conflict is a historically powerful nation invading a historically weak one. Anyways.

This is a song about backward-looking violent nationalism contrasting with future-looking lift-up-the-weak nationalism. And then there’s me, a million miles away in America, watching from a great and blurring distance. Happy Tuesday!”


03. You Must Be Kidding
Article the song is based on: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/feb/25/sao-paulo-brazil-failing-megacity-water-crisis-rationing
Will: “On this latest Arcade Fire tour I got to spend a couple of days in São Paulo. It was my first quality time spent in the city, and I loved it. Musician friends of friends showed us around. There’s a bonkers energy and, like most cities I love, a mind-bending blend of cultures. It was exhausting, mostly in a good way. I can’t wait to go back.

The first time I went to São Paulo I was jet-lagged and relatively inexperienced with traveling. It was on the Funeral tour. I think we spent a day and a half in town, most of it inside the hotel which was behind a high fence with razor wire and armed guards outside. It was a weird, intense scene, that hotel.

I bet that hotel will figure out a way to get water no matter how low the supply gets.”


04. Madonna Can’t Save Me Now
Article the song is based on: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/26/found-a-black-hole-12-billion-times-the-size-of-the-sun
Will: “I had every intention of writing about the Brit awards. It was a news event I was sure the Guardian would cover. I was pretty confident in Sam Smith and Taylor Swift. I could cheat a bit, prepare a couple zingers in advance.

But they just found a black hole 12bn times the mass of the sun and almost as old as the universe itself, so, whatever.

I’m not terrified were going to get sucked into a black hole. I’m terrified that all of human art is only 50,000 years old and that nothing anything any of us do will ever matter. jk lol Bwahahahhahahahhaha.

Madonna can’t save us now.”


05. By The Waters Of Babylon
Article the song is based on: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/26/isis-fighters-destroy-ancient-artefacts-mosul-museum-iraq
Will: “The words to today’s song are taken from Psalm 137. It’s a song of sorrow and rage from the mouth of a refugee whose city has been destroyed. The sorrow portion of the psalm is extremely famous and often quoted – ”How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” The rage portion of the psalm is less often brought up – “O daughter of Babylon … happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth they little ones against the stones.”

I can’t imagine the sorrow and rage of the people whose lands have been overrun by Isis, whose family and friends are murdered, whose culture is being destroyed.

This song is not a policy prescription. The last lines should evoke horror. But the emotions behind the words are ancient and real.

Mosul is a part of our heritage, part of the world’s heritage, and the loss of its history is heartbreaking.”