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Ray Wilson - These Are The Changes

  by John Clarkson

published: 25 / 10 / 2004

Ray Wilson - These Are The Changes
Label: Inside Out
Format: CDS


Passionate new single from former Stiltskin and Genesis frontman Ray Wilson, which pours scorn on America's War on Terror

Dumfries-born singer-songwriter Ray Wilson has met with continually mixed fortunes since he first appeared on the music scene with his early band, Stiltskin, in 1994. Stiltskin had a massive hit that summer with the single, 'Inside', but broke up within a matter of months of its release. Wilson then went on to front Genesis, taking over in 1996 from Phil Collins, who had decided to concentrate exclusively on his solo career. Although their album, 'Calling All Stations,' reached number 2 in the charts and they were able to maintain enough fans after Collins' departure to play an international stadium tour, Wilson again, however, found himself out of a job in early 2000 when Genesis' founder members Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks decided to lay the band to rest. In the four years since then, Wilson has worked hard at establishing a solo career. His debut solo album, 'Change', came out to good reviews and moderate sales in 2001. A second album, The Next Best Thing', is now on its way. Wilson has always been questioning and thought-provoking, and 'These are the Changes', the first single from it, finds him pouring his scorn on America's current War on Terror. 'These are the Changes' samples key note political speeches from President Bush, Edward Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. A blood-hungry Bush opens the song by talking on the second anniversary of 9/11 about "an unfinished war". The other three politicians are shown as peace makers. Edward Kennedy talks in 1968 about John Kennedy's work towards peace, Nixon talks in early 1973 about the Americans' decision to withdraw from Vietnam, while Reagan at the Berlin Wall in 1987 talks about the end of the Cold War. These samples are then merged with an at first mournful and then finally angry vocal from Wilson, which beginning as a whispered husk and building in crescendo, finds him chanting the mantra "These are the changes the day bring us/These are the changes the day brings" over and over again, as he beats out , again starting softly and then ending with a roar, a similarly insistent three-chord rhythm on his guitar. Wilson's politics are undoubtedly one-sided. The limitations and confines of a three minute single and use of its protagonists' own speeches paint John Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan in their role of peace keepers as whiter than they were and take no account of events such as the Bay of Pigs, American policy in Grenada, Latin America and Iran in the 80's or the fact that Nixon was four years and into the second term of his presidency when a battered America finally pulled out of Vietnam. 'These are the Changes', undoubtedly, however, carries a powerful impact. I first listened to this single as my television turned to low showed footage of another Black Watch funeral, and it was like being punched in the heart. Wilson firmly and passionately makes the point that under the presidency of Bush , whose foreign politics have always unlike the others almost principally been those of hate, that the world has never been in a more desperate state. This is a most welcome return from this under-rated and thoughtful singer-songwriter.

Track Listing:-
1 These Are The Changes (Benztown Mixdown)
2 These Are The Changes (Album Edit)
3 Gouranga (Live)

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Interview (2016)
Ray Wilson - Interview
Stiltskin and former Genesis front man Ray Wilson speaks to John Clarkson about his acoustic fifth and latest solo album, 'Song For A Friend', which was partially influenced by the death of a friend

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