With his new album The Changing Wilderness due for release 7th May via Bella Union, and having previously shared lead track ‘Tokens’, Will Stratton has revealed a visualizer for new single “When I’ve Been Born (I’ll Love You)”.
Of the track Stratton says: “Unlike in some of my songs, I try to say exactly what I mean in this one, and not to leave it too open for interpretation or ambiguity through imagery. It’s a song about what it can feel like to care for someone when the world is atomized and full of confusion and fear. I try not to give in to the impulse to pretend like this is a radical act. On the contrary, I think it’s one of the most basic things about being human.”
The 10 tracks on the new LP came about from an intense four-year period of soul-searching and change for Stratton, where he knew he needed to change the way he wrote songs. “I was just really sick of introspection,” he says. “I had to write music that felt like it was engaging with the outside world, rather than focusing on what was going on in my own life like on my earlier records.” With the 2016 election, Donald Trump’s Presidency, and rising right-wing extremism on his mind, Stratton set out to interrogate his country’s present crises. Like the best protest music, these songs aren’t didactic or preachy. Instead, they ask more questions than claim to have answers with Stratton’s lyrics taking a scalpel-like approach to the very worst of human nature.
Stratton engineered and mixed every song on The Changing Wilderness from his home studio in Beacon, NY, but he recruited a sizable ensemble of old friends and new collaborators to flesh out the arrangements, including vocalists Maia Friedman, Cassandra Jenkins, Katie Mullins, and Eamon Fogarty, as well as electric guitarist Ben Seretan, upright bassist Carmen Rothwell, saxophonist and clarinetist Justin Keller, and drummers Sean Mullins (Wilder Maker) and Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley).
Though Stratton initially sought out to avoid personal song-writing on this LP, his arbitrary rules became untenable as he got deeper into the writing process. “Over the past four years as the world around us got progressively more screwed up, it became impossible for me to write something that wasn’t somewhat introspective,” he says. The Changing Wilderness operates in dichotomies: darkness vs. light and processing your own personal struggles through the vast and seemingly insurmountable problems the world is facing.