The Sleep of Reason


Now that we’re finding out the true meaning of the Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times!’, Billy Bragg, who has just published his acclaimed book ‘Roots, Radicals & Rockers’, returns to his full-time career as protest singer and will release a new single ‘The Sleep Of Reason’ on July 7th 2017 on the Cooking Vinyl label. ‘The Sleep Of Reason’, inspired by a visit to The Prado gallery in Madrid where Billy saw Goya’s etching ‘The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters’, is an impassioned polemical anthem set to a stark buzzsaw melody. Written in response to the events of 2016, it is the first of several songs Billy plans to release over the course of the coming months.

Says Billy: “Life comes at you real fast these days. What’s a singer-songwriter to do when events keep challenging the way that we see the world? Before we’ve had a chance to digest one startling development, along comes another to throw us off balance again. I’ve been grubbing up songs for the past 12 months, but without the time to get an album together due to other projects, so I’ve decided to start dropping tracks as they become ready. As always, they’re my way of trying to make some sense of what’s going on.

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters is the name of an etching created in 1799 by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. The title struck a chord with me when trying to understand the events of last year. The lies and hubris of the Leave campaign in our EU referendum were echoed and amplified by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Only by restoring empathy and reason can we hope to defeat the monstrous forces of nationalism and untruth.”

Billy Bragg will tour solo and electric in the UK and Europe in November, under the title ‘Bridges Not Walls’.