Roger Taylor has never been shy to speak his mind. While perhaps not so obvious in the multi-million selling hits he has written for Queen (although many consider â€œRadio Ga Gaâ€ to be a Queenâ€™s â€˜statementâ€™ song), Rogerâ€™s tell-it-as-you-see it perspective has become something of his trademark, both in the rare interviews he gives and defined in his solo work.
Revisit Taylorâ€™s two last solo albums, â€œHappiness?â€ (1994) and â€œElectric Fireâ€ (1998) and you are reminded of what an acute observational songwriter Taylor is at heart. Both works potently reflect Taylorâ€™s personal views on such issues as national obsolescence, domestic violence, and poverty.
Taylor’s songs come across as contemporary reflections on life, often richly melancholic, with socially aware lyrics calling for justice, awareness and equality.
A quote from the time has Taylor saying: “We (pop stars) are people not androids. We’ve got views. I’ve got opinions and I don’t see why I shouldn’t use a bit of my art to put them over. I think music is one of the most powerful media forces in the world today.”
Twelve years have passed since Taylor last expressed himself so openly (with â€œElectric Fireâ€). Any thoughts that those passing years may have dulled Taylorâ€™s sharp edge are immediately dispelled with the arrival (January 4) of a new solo single from Taylor, â€œThe Unblinking Eye (Everything is Broken)â€.
â€œWhat happened to the protest song?â€ Taylorâ€™s liner notes for the new single ask, lamenting â€œmusic is now so polished, shiny and predictable, we have forgotten to try and â€˜say something with itâ€™.
â€œI am getting old and like everyone, have the right to say something about the â€˜state of controlâ€™ we live under â€“ powerless to do anything about it. â€œ
So what riles Taylor enough to ruffle the now famous goatee and goad him sufficiently to want to go public with his concerns?
In what comes across as both frustration and bridled fury, Taylorâ€™s song weighs into those elected to govern our everyday lives:
â€¦â€In case you hadnâ€™t noticedâ€¦The high street is full of holesâ€¦We are fighting a pointless war which is killing our young soldiers and which we simply cannot affordâ€¦.the nation is not only broke but utterly bankruptâ€¦we are spied upon by 5 million camerasâ€¦We have thousands of petty rules and regulations â€“ more than ever before – no wonder people are bewildered and confusedâ€¦As a nation we own almost nothing including â€œourâ€ water, electricity, gas, airspace and major manufacturers. Personal privacy is non-existent. We are directionless.
â€œIâ€™m p*****d off â€“ you should be too.â€
Taylor is encouraging others sharing his feelings of frustration to similarly express themselves. The single â€œThe Unblinking Eye (Everything is Broken)â€ will also carry a fully instrumental track Taylor has called â€œAlmost Completely Nudeâ€ to provide a vehicle for others to write and perform their own protest song.
â€œYou know who to send it to,â€ says Taylor.
â€œThe Unblinking Eye (Everything is Broken)â€ released January 4.
P.S. Taylorâ€™s active approach to issues of personal concern has not been confined to his music: when media mogul Rupert Murdoch made attempts to buy Manchester United football club, Taylor funded the club supporters in their attempts to block the sale, and historically helped them succeed.