Those expecting Tom Morello’s new solo album The Atlas Underground to sound anything like Rage Against the Machine best turn around and head right back out that door. The two tracks we’ve heard from the album so far — “Rabbit’s Revenge” (featuring Bassnectar, Big Boi, and Killer Mike) and the newly released “Every Step That I Take” — have sounded nothing like the music for which Morello is best known. And that’s a good thing! Part of what rubbed the wrong way about Prophets of Rage is that it sounded too much like Rage Against the Machine, as if Morello and company were leaning way too heavily on their past sound to parlay modern day success. But that’s not the case here, not at all. This is a completely new musical direction for Tom, one that’s way more mainstream, and that’s totally fine — it’s forward motion, and the messages within these songs are no less timely and poignant than ever despite the pop production veneer.
So: Morello’s latest, “Every Step That I Take,” features Portugal. The Man and Whethan (every track on the record features different guests), and sounds like something you’d hear alongside Twentyone Pilots or Lukas Graham on your local pop radio station. Again, I have no problem with that at all — it’s well done pop! Morello told the Chicago Tribune that the track’s goal is help raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention:
“For the song ‘Every Step That I Take‘ with Portugal.The Man and Whethan, a teenage EDM marvel, we’re partnering with an organization called SAVE [Suicide Awareness Voices of Education,] focusing on suicide prevention, information and depression awareness. With the passing of Chris [Cornell of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave] over a year ago, and the momentum towards removing the stigma from mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, it was very important to have a song from that point of view.
“I’ve had mental illness issues in my family and among my friends in the past, and there’s a current trend toward this demystification to encourage people, among your friends, loved ones and professionals, there is help and there are ways. You know, you break your arm — it’s not a stigma to go to the hospital to get it set.
“Hopefully we’re able to start looking at suicidal thoughts and depression in the same way that can materially save lives. ‘Every Step That I Take‘ is about how the dreams, and depression, and love and the lack of it on the emotional steps of the gallows are processed. It was a song written by myself and Matt Shultz from Cage the Elephant and Johnny (Gourley) from Portugal.The Man sings it and it’s just a beautiful song. One of my favorites on the record.”
Have a listen below. Tom Morello’s The Atlas Underground drops October 12th; pre-order it here.
[via The PRP]
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