“I don’t believe in the American dream”. Elephant Stone and a poignant message about today

Following the release of their 6th studio album earlier this year, psych-rock band Elephant Stone have crafted a DIY video for their song ‘American Dream’, filmed in frontman Rishi Dhir’s garage. The lyrics of the song conveys feelings of disappointment, despair and disenchantment with today’s world.

They say that we got it real bad Thousands dead in the streets but not enough body bags I don’t want no more of this American dream

Yankee kids spend their break on the beach Fascists carry their torches; the president gives a speech I don’t want no more of this American dream

Gee, Ma, I want to go back to Ontario Gee, Ma, I want to go home

Lyrics from ‘American Dream’

The desire to leave their home of Canada for the promise of the glitz and galmour of the US – something that resonates strongly with me and possibly my friends, when we decided to move from the West of Ireland to Dublin.

“Growing up in Canada, it was hard to not feel like an ‘also-ran’ when you’re constantly sold the glitz and glamour of America. Over the years, many of my Canadian friends have moved south of the border in search of the American dream, only to find that it really was just a dream. And now, with the dangerous path America is on, I wonder if my same friends are questioning their move and longing for home.”

Rishi Dhir, Elephant Stone

The video features Dhir’s son holding queue cards against a backdrop of archival footage of immigrants in search of the American Dream. The reality that we all face, and particularly for those who are living in the US right now, is a living nightmare. When I listen to the lyrics of ‘American Dream’, I’m reminded that the capacity to even criticise the place you live in and the government that reside over it is not a freedom that everyone enjoys.

Music in activism and protest has for decades played a leading role in the history of movements in the US. Creation is an outlet for pain and despair, for anger and frustration, and in the face of fascism, violence and brutality, music can be a vehicle for community building and change. Recently, Pussy Riot collaborated with Argentinian musicians Parcas, Dillom, and Muerejoven to challenge sexism and violence with hardcore punk music. In response to police brutality in the US, LL Cool J shared an emotional rap as a mark of respect. If we have a platform, we can at least do something with it.

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