Alan Magee (April, 2020)
I wrote the song Singing in the Dark Times in December 2016, a month after the presidential election. America had just taken a momentous turn—one that would affect not only social policy but also the temper of the nation. What concerned me then, and does now, is how we, individually and collectively, should respond to powerful, destructive forces. How do we hold on to our personal guidelines for decency when facing a daunting malevolence? I felt compelled to write a song about that, and in my search for a central metaphor I remembered the short poem, Motto, by Bertolt Brecht:
“In the dark times, will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing about the dark times.”
I was thinking, too, as I wrote, of something that the writer Nicholas Von Hoffman said to me many years ago, “The riskiest thing we can do as writers or artists is to make certain that we are clearly understood”.