By Sydney Miller, Contributing Writer
“What will the people do / when they’ve got nothing to lose?” Front Country asks their listeners in their latest single, “Amerikan Dream,” released on July 31.
The song, from their upcoming album, has a strong and ragged backbeat reminiscent of a Springsteen or Petty song. In fact, it almost sounds like the kind of song that just might get repurposed for a political rally or campaign à la “Born in the USA.”
Front Country isn’t pulling any punches here: every line points out some fault in American culture (“Working in a warehouse / With no AC” and “Turn away the stranger / Just lookin’ for relief), but each line ultimately ends with “You’re free to believe / In the American Dream.” The band is making a powerful statement: this antiquated set of ideals is all our government is offering in response to the terrible suffering of everyday Americans.
“From our racist colonial roots to our economically divided present, the ‘American Dream’ has never really been accessible to all. Since it is a belief more than a fact, the first step in changing it is to dismantle the dogma within ourselves so we can be free to imagine a better country together,” Front Country lead singer Melody Walker said about the song.
The lyrics aren’t the only heat that the song brings. The twangy guitars, backed up by the solid bass line, build into a song that rocks and rolls with a swagger that begs to be cranked up in a car on a hot summer day.
This is clearly a protest song, and if it had been around a year ago, it definitely would have made its way onto my “stick it to the man” themed Fourth of July party playlist, which included “White Man’s World” by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and “The World is On Fire” by American Aquarium.
But it’s 2020 now, and things are even more urgent than they were a year ago. People are protesting in the streets, and one of the most important elections in American history is nearly upon us. “Amerikan Dream” offers a logical next step of upheaval and change to correct the wrongs inflicted on the American people.
As the song comes to an end, the guitar rolls with the vocals to leave the listener with one haunting thought: “What will the people do / When we wake from our sleep and we’re coming for you?”