American singer and songwriter, Ben Kweller has unveiled a new single titled “American Cigarettes” which, lyrically, discusses his country’s growing divide.
He comments: “It doesn’t take long, flipping through the TV or social media, to realize that this is us right now as a country – we’ve been brought to our knees by a dual pandemic. Innocent people are dying each day from a micro bug called COVID and being brutalized by a macro bug called RACISM. With so much at stake, how can it be that we seem to have zero things in common? Instead of focusing on solutions that heal, we shout at each other and claim bad faith. How do we survive when two of our country’s most basic promises – safety and equality – have become politicized into us versus them?”
This said, the artist believes there is a third option and alternate path: “On one side they say, ‘Preserve everything without change!’. On the other side they say, ‘Destroy everything and start over!’. I object to these choices and see a third path. Not because I’m an artist who dislikes being pigeonholed, but because I think our society has more depth and nuance than just two checkboxes of life and death, black and white, all or nothing. We need to stand up and call out health risks where they exist. We need to stand up and call out racism where it exists. Those are facts that ninety nine point nine percent of us can get behind. Now we just need to join together and do the work.
Coming together is the third path, and to me it’s the only path. The truth is, we’ve always needed each other but now we need each other MORE THAN EVER. Even with all of America’s imperfections, we still experience moments of commonality and sameness. Unfortunately, it seems like those moments are less and less. With the fourth of July coming up and so many of us in tears and feeling lost, I have to express myself the best way I know how, because I truly think that music might be one of the last connectors we have left.”