Jesse Malin asks if you’re better off now than you were four years ago in his new protest song “Ameri’ka,” a soft but hard-hitting ballad that takes stock of our current nightmare.
“Adam got the virus like when Reagan was in charge/history repeats itself, the killers are at large,” he sings, pointing out just who exactly has sacrificed to build this country. “No purple mountain majesty or amber waves of grain/this land was made for you and me from someone else’s pain.”
“President Donald Trump has been an arrogant, ignorant embarrassment with lies and an energy that has stoked the negativity that has existed here since our beginnings,” Malin says. “He’s out for himself and not for the people.”
Written by Malin with frequent collaborator Holly Ramos, “Ameri’ka” evokes shades of Harry Chapin in its gentle, lilting production. Malin says the song is meant to ultimately bring people together. He’ll perform the track during the season finale of his popular livestream series, The Fine Art of Self Distancing, on Thursday and is pledging proceeds from the livestream, and from sales of a benefit T-shirt, to the Food Bank of New York City.
“When we travel, rock & roll music, to me, is about unity. It’s about bringing people together. We are the doctors without borders. It goes beyond government, religion and color, just the universal heartbeat of life and blood, love and passion, and that connects us all as human beings on the same planet,” Malin says. “That’s what music and art have the power to do.”