This Friday, November 2nd, “Walls” will be released on Columbia by Sony Music marking Barbra Streisand’s 36th album release. Ahead of the record are 3 singles now available on Amazon music and YouTube. I will review these songs in today’s blog.
“Don’t Lie To Me” (3:57)
A very strong protest against the total lack of empathy shown by the current President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. This track has a lustrous pleading tone throughout with its constant cry of the desperate need for real truth telling in this age of isolation and hate. Not a partisan mea culpa, this record’s first 3 singles make a broader statement that we are a people not a party, and we must look to each other for a brighter future.
With very somber opening piano chords Ms. Streisand sings the opening line, ‘Why can’t you just tell me the truth?’ like a mother to a son. But in this case it is a citizen expressing a grievance to the sitting President, which makes it even more powerful.
Then she connects this message to all of the public protests that are taking place on a variety of issues like immigration, police brutality, and basic civil rights.
In the vocals you can hear the anger, the tears, and the absolute defiance of a citizenry who refuse to believe that one man could undo so many of our democratic principles. She intones, “how do you sleep when the world is burning? …everyone answers to someone” let us all hope this rings true so we may rebuild our democracy. Next up is a mash-up of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”.
“Imagine”/”What A Wonderful World” (5:20)
The album’s title, ‘Walls’, is a stark reminder of why walls are a bad idea. They box us in total isolation, blocking out the light, and blinding us to what is possible when there are no limits. Walls restrict. Like borders imagined they separate us. This is the core of this new album.
Common themes of breaking down walls resound as she sings the first verse of ‘Imagine’ which asks the listener to see a world without countries and religion; beyond personal borders and beliefs to see we are all connected by common humanity. She then leads into the genuflection “skies of blue and rainbows” that are possible in this wonderful world.
A perfect match of imagination and reality. Our best politics do this as well. A vision is expressed and then comes the hard work of persuading people that it will result in a brighter future. Despite our hard times this mash-up is a reminder that we need to remain optimistic that we can lift each other up and see our way to a better tomorrow. This takes us to the 3rd single about that lady in the harbor…
“Lady Liberty” (3:52)
A stirring ode to the ideals of American democracy. Ms. Streisand reminds us that Lady Liberty is a constant witness in our darkest hours; “she cried with us on that terrible September day” is a great lyric sung here. This iconic statue is a personification of true empathy. Our door is open, not closed as she sings, “give us your tempest tossed. Tell the universe there is room for all of us and more.” Remember we welcome newcomers. We do not turn them away.
Barbra Streisand could never have known that the week of these songs’ release bears even more weight with acts of domestic terrorism filling the news. Whatever your politics, this album deserves a listen by all of us. Because our common humanity must break down walls to rise above and find our better horizons and selves.
Music Video: “Don’t Lie To Me” written & directed by Barbra Streisand is available now on YouTube. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/kNrj87Q-4Yk