During the 8 years of the Bush presidency many veteran rockers, like Jackson Browne and the Eagles, put out anti-war, anti-government protest albums damming the actions of that government administration. None of them were as poignant or lucid as the trifecta of albums delivered by elder-statesman and british rocker Ian Hunter. With three post millennium releases, Rant in 2001, Shrunken Heads in 2007, and Man Overboard in 2009; Hunter eloquently captures, in no particular order, the 5 stages of grief over what he referred to as “the death of a nation”. His discontent was not solely aimed at the U.S., but also Britain and the other minions that found an easy way to exploit and cash in on uncertain times and circumstances. What he’s really riling over in these three records is the breakdown of a generation that was given a great gift from those who came before them and who squandered and drove that privilege into the ground not only for themselves, but for their children as well. Hunter comes to terms with his changing philosophy and ideals, as he sees the world through different glasses than the ones he wore as a younger man in the 60s and 70s.
This is some heavy stuff, but Hunter sweetens it with the musical grander he is so well known for. There is plenty of style, hooks and jangle in these records. Hunter pulls out tricks and treats so old that they sound like lost relics from Mott the Hoople. Hard driving rockers intertwined with wistful ballads create a thoughtful inspiring sound which is a fresh relief from today’s manufactured pop symphonics.
“Nothin’ matters anymore
The rich get richer, and the poor get sorer
You took our loyalty and you tore it to shreds
We’re all the mercy of shrunken heads”