Iconoclastic (2019)

 
 

Iconoclastic (2019)

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Iconoclastic, Lilou & John’s seventh release and second full length album, was recorded from March to May 2019 as the duo wanted to move from acoustic neofolk to a new genre. They had already been discussing making an EDM album and a transatlantic collaboration was under way. In February 2019, after the breakup of the collaboration, Lilou & John decided to produce their own music from scratch in Garageband.

The album was very well received, by far more than any other album. Svegot’s Magnus Söderman called it “really good straight through”, Ernst Robert Almgren from Maskulint called it “their best album so far” and Joakim “Oskorei” Andersen from Motpol wrote “Lilou & John is a good example that something else, at the same time more intelligent and more fun, is possible.” The album name came from an article written by Brett Stevens where he described Lilou’s voice as “iconoclastic”.

 

Counter Jihad

“Counter Jihad” was based on a previous text John had written called “Black Bishop”. The song originated as a simple come-up-with-catchy-titles game Lilou & John had one evening when they had nothing else to do. Inspiration came from Dracula, the Lucifer myth but also Anders Behring Breivik’s, Luca Traini’s and Brandon Tarrant’s retaliation attacks. John describes the song as “a sort of summoning of dark Christianity in the tradition of Tancred of Antioch, something that has been lost to light Christianity which has rendered most people helpless like sheep without sheepdog or shepherd.” Lilou says the song reminded her of Edward Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and the dark synth voices are there to resemble giants.

Text and music: Lilou & John

Night is black lit by fire
I am riding to the east
There is vice and there’s desire
In my heart the hidden beast

Day is lonely sun is golden
Dawn is breaking yet again
Shadows sleep yet I told’em
Darkness holds the hearts of men

I will ride to find morning
Where no sun is shining through
Iron clouds on skies of mourning
And my heart is born anew

Burden is a bless to carry
For the broken and the free
Death is just another ferry
Down the river to the sea

Rise again to war my bishop
Rise again from your black tomb
Seal my lips the fading whisper
Death is just another womb

I will ride to war my bishop
With a power beyond mine
Ride upon a steed of iron
Ride until the end of time

 

Iconoclastic

“Iconoclastic” is an English version of the Italian classic “Avanti Ragazzi di Buda”. The duo tried to recreate the atmosphere of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and combine it with the French Yellow Vest Revolution. The acoustic version was praised by Svegot’s Dan Eriksson. The song immediately became a hit among fans and Lilou & John decided to make a studio recording after they had received several messages calling for such a version. The music arrangement and vocal style was intended to add a retro feel, “much like the music of 1968 as it should have been”, John says. It was one of the hardest songs to finish, Lilou recalls, as it took long time to mix the vocal properly. “Recording it at home makes it harder than in a studio”, she says, “there is much noise to remove. But in the end it became amazing.”

Text and music: Lilou & John

Rise my sister in Paris
Rise my sister in Rome
Rise my sister in Berlin for
My sisters you’re not alone

All through the night we have waited
The night of the lie and the truth
Dreamed that there will be another dawn
A dawn for the national youth

You have a rifle my sister
I will wait by the square
With a gun under my school book
I will wait for you there

Ten days and ten nights of freedom
We fought the tyranny hard
Blood was running all along
The tanks on the boulevard

Policemen were crushing our children
Soldiers were crushing our old
Newspapers wrote about everything
But this story they never told

Sisters their bullets are ripping
Apart my flesh and my heart
And I will die for my love for you
I’ll find you wherever you are

Sisters oh don’t tell our mother
That I will be dying tonight
Tell her I ran for the mountains
And I will return with the light

For I will be marching beside you
My rifle will sing to your voice
Carry my flame and my secret name
Carry my will and my choice

And sisters oh never stop fighting
Show your children the way
Teach them the songs that their people sing
Teach them to summon the day

Tell them a matchstick is burning
And life is a gift and a gun
Tell them to stand up and never bow
Teach them to call back the sun

 

The White Eagle

“The White Eagle” was inspired by the Polish uprising against the Socialist regime in the 1980s. The eagle was taken from Polish National myths and the tanks refer to the Soviet oppression in central Europe. Lilou & John released it as a “Polish sequel” to Hungarian-themed Free Woman and was just like “Iconoclastic” inspired by Italian classic “Avanti Ragazzi di Buda”. The disco sound in combination with the electric guitars was intended to provoke the listener into realizing that uprising is not a matter of talk but a matter of force. The song was featured in an interview with Polish news site Narodowcy after the release.

Text and music: Lilou & John

My sister was born in Gdynia
My brother was born in Gdansk
Protected the white eagle banner
Stood up in front of the tanks
And red and white was the banner
That rose to heaven at dawn
We prayed to God when the tanks rolled in
On feet of murdered unborn

The only red I’d die for
Is that on the Polish banner

An eagle descended from heaven
Descended from heaven to earth
United a country divided
A country of death and rebirth
And legends say uhlans were riding
Across the gray autumn sky
Down at the Lenin shipyard
Defending the world with our lives

The only red I’d die for
Is that on the Polish banner

My sister was shot by a soldier
She died in my arms and she said
“Sister remember my eyes of joy
The children that I never had”
I carried my sister to Wroclaw
To Bialystok and Szczecin
I carried my sister to Krakow and
I buried her in my dreams

The only red I’d die for
Is that on the Polish banner

My sister was born in Gdynia
My brother was born in Gdansk
Protecting the white eagle banner
Stood up in front of the tanks
Yeah stood up in front of the tanks

 

Pasokification

“Pasokification” means the decline and dissolvement of Social Democratic parties and their replacement by Populist, Conservative and Nationalist parties. The reggae inspired beat was intended as a flirt with Bob Marley’s album Survival and Lilou quickly created a reggae song style that matched the text perfectly. The trumpets that make up much of the foreground of the song came to life in a hotel room in Gdynia where Lilou & John stayed during the Easter holiday 2018.

Text and music: Lilou & John

I’m a kid of the Y2K generation
I dive into everything without hesitation
My color is many, my imagination
Sets the limits for the manifestation
Of God my personal interpretation
Of why we have this indoctrination

I’m a creature born without creation
Born into this new world alienation
Denied my right as a child of the nation
Knowledge, freedom and explanation
Sentenced to this long stagnation
Propaganda called education

I was born to work on this plantation
Is this what we call civilization
Atomized into this fragmentation
From woman into corporation
Gridlocked by commercialization
Endless waves of globalization

I will stop this social medication
This linguistic social liquidation
This Stand-in-line-and-wait-for-information
This White and Black, Hispanic Asian
Voting for gentrification
Tyranny and mass migration

Oh, we all need pasokification
Yeah, we all need pasokification
We cannot live without pasokification

 

Bolsomito

“Bolsomito” started as a short nursery rhyme about a jaguar stalking its prey in the jungle. Lilou & John had decided to make a song about the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. “It was so fascinating”, John says, “he was almost murdered by that terrorist but managed to survive and won the election. I just had to write a song about him”. Lilou tried many different singing techniques but decided to go for the whispering “jungle” sound after approximately half an hour of trial and arror. During the mixing, however, they discovered that the vocal track was littered with background noise from the mic. It risked lowering the quality of the recording so they decided to turn the noise into an instrument. The noise was amplified, reverb was added and the noice was cut into short rhythm sections like a scratchy jazz hi-hat.

Text and music: Lilou & John

There is a jaguar hunting
In the deep lush forest of South America
There is a jaguar ruling
In the deep lush forest of South America

There is a jaguar hunting
In the deep lush forest of South America
There is a jaguar ruling
In the deep lush forest of South America

There is a jaguar watching
In the deep lush forest of South America
There is a jaguar prowling
In the deep lush forest of South America

There is a jaguar roaring
In the deep lush forest of South America
There is a jaguar ruling
In the deep lush forest of South America

There is a jaguar killing
In the deep lush forest of South America
There is a jaguar ruling
In the deep lush forest of South America

 

Salvini Pop

John wrote the text for “Salvini Pop” on a lunch break 2017. He started out with a “silly little rhyme that could come from an Italo Disco 80s track” he says. He intentionally wrote the lyrics in a naive style that could mimic a wannabe author trying to write an EDM text in a foreign tongue. “The idea was to create an unholy mix of stupid pop music lyrics with the thought-provoking politician Matteo Salvini in an effort to show the dichotomy of the two”, John says. The strings and trumpets were added to remind of the classical composers of Italy. The song has since spread among Lega voters in Italy.

Text and music: Lilou & John

Italia Italia I have a thing for you
Italia Italia what you gonna do?
See the Man is dancing, nobody can stop
Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop

Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop
Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop

Italia Italia the sky is red and green
Italia Italia the white is in between
See the Man is dancing, nobody can stop
Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop

Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop
Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop

Italia Italia see the handsome man
Italia Italia sweeping cross the land
See the Man is dancing, nobody can stop
Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop

Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop
Everybody’s dancing Salvini-vini pop

 

Godwin’s Law

“Godwin’s Law” was invented by American author Mike Godwin, stating that the longer an Internet discussion goes on, the higher is the probability that someone will make a reference to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists in 1930s Germany. Lilou & John wrote the song after watching Netflix one evening, discovering a literal inflation of World War Two movies. Sick and tired of the concept of reality that reduces world history to 1933-1945 they decided to make a protest song. “It is actually one of very few protest songs we have ever recorded, the other one being ‘Payback Day’, John says. “As usual it comes with no political leaning in itself. It’s just a message of grow up, come out of the box and stop living in the past”.

Text and music: Lilou & John

Wakey, wakey honey!

God is dead and death is hell and you are scared of all
Got no spine but lots of wine and man you’re gonna fall
You talk about what Hitler did oh yeah it was a dread
But seriously the man is gone and all his friends are dead
I have heard about that war for 40 years or so
Try another genocide oh baby let it go
I am sick of hearing you pretend you’re anti-war
While in fact all what you do is proving Godwin’s Law.

1, 2, 3 baby

Yeah he killed a lot of people I don’t question that
But baby all the Indians huh they died of heart attack?
Who enslaved East Africa and still have slavery?
Who drop bombs on Bagdad to “defend democracy”?
It is for “the common good”, yeah that has worked before
Just own your crime and I’ll be fine and stop your fucking wars
And if you gotta virtue signal do it in your shed
Just get that fucking world war two obsession off your head

4, 5, 6 baby

7, 8, 9 baby

And what is this I’m doxxed again oh this must be a joke
Gonna ban me from the Web yeah that is really woke
Questioning is hate oh man yeah that has worked before
This world is one big battlezone a neverending war
For people eat and people crap and some are like ok
Most of them are ignorant and some are tryna pray
But you are just pretending to be good my little fren
Everyone’s an asshole and this asshole counts to ten

10
Bang!

 

USS Donald Trump

“USS Donald Trump” is a song about the 45th president of the United States. When Lilou read the text she instantly thought about an army drill and wanted to sing the song like a drill sergeant. “The song was written to show an aspect of Donald Trump that is rarely discussed in media”, John says, “the alpha male, the apex killer, the top predator that bows to no one. Regardless what you think about his view on politics he is a fascinating figure, like Jair Bolsonaro”. The song has divided Lilou & John’s fanbase as many listeners don’t like Donald Trump and ask why Lilou & John would show him support with a song. As always, the duo have an answer: “We don’t stand on any side. We are Lilou & John and we write about everything that catches our interest. We aren’t necessarily Zionists for recording ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ or Fascists for recording ‘Revolutionary Road’. We are artists and art is not pollytix”.

Text and music: Lilou & John

He’s the meanest fish in the big blue sea
He’s the toughest guy in the industry
Got the biggest jaws in the ABC
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

Under our flag and our mighty keel
The barracuda and the leopard seal
Agreed to negotiate the deal
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

He’s the bite that took the old Giant Squid down
To the deep sea grave, how profound
To where her carcass can’t be found
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

We saw him bite through Neptune’s fork
Feast on Kraken’s salty pork
We felt the power, the speed and torque
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

And a jellyfish called Miss Fay Knoose
And the Ol’ Seadonkey Blues
Let the propaganda loose
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

But the killer whale sent a humble mail
To the apex alpha male
Setting off a Twitter gale
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

And the great white shark sent a colored heart
And a well done tuna á la carte
Oh yeah it was a work of art
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!

From the whale to krill they all know the drill
From China, Stockholm to Bougainville
Be at the table or on the grill
The Trump! The Trump! The Trump!