I remember in the album version of The Beatles’ “Revolution,” John Lennon posing the question, ‘when it comes to destruction you can count me in,’ followed by an oscillating ‘in-out,’ leaving both himself and the listener without a definitive answer. It’s something that I’ve thought about periodically throughout my life, but without Lennon, I possibly wouldn’t have ever asked myself the question.
Growing up, protest songs (and artists willing to engage in the bigger picture) seemed all too commonplace, and I watched as they played an instrumental role in facilitating change. Sadly, today the interconnection between artist, politics, and wider culture feels largely lost, or at least unfashionable, so when the 22-year-old Fergus, ON artist Madison Galloway’s new single “Open Your Eyes” landed for review, it brought a real rekindled optimism that a new generation would again start to demand change and play a role in shaping tomorrow’s world.
Either way, over riffing electric rock guitar from the opening line, “Sell their lies to whoever pays,” it is evident that this young lady has something she wants to get off her chest, and clearly wants us to listen. In many instances, this may be a turn off – as political songs, or songs with a wider agenda, run the inherent risk of sounding patronizing and preachy – but in Madison’s skillful hands, it just feels like somebody simply outlining problems, with a widely shared anti-consumerist, pro-environment lint, and a rallying call for unity in stopping the madness.
“House to car / No second thought / Air we breathe / The things we brought / Pace the world / We’re all caught / Oh, won’t you stand up now / And open your eyes”… followed by the athematic cry, “People come together.”
“Open Your Eyes” feels like Madison is embracing an ever-expanding direction and maturity in her musical adventure, building upon her less overly-political 2015 “Who Knows Where” EP and her 2019 “Moon & Mercury” full-length debut album. Madison may not have the answers, but it’s both exciting and refreshing that younger artists are once again posing some serious questions, hopefully bringing topics to a wider audience and helping to instigate much needed change. Without reservation, thanks Madison – you can count me in.