Singer-songwriter Oliver Anthony ripped onto the scene final week with “Wealthy Males North of Richmond,” popularized by a viral video of Anthony howling the tune in the dead of night Virginia countryside.
Anthony’s voice and lyrics grip the listener. Like well-liked folk-country singer-songwriter Colter Wall, his uncooked voice and stripped-down model delivers authenticity – and the lyrics stand out in an period the place manufacturing typically overtakes message.
With lyrics referencing inflation, male suicide, welfare, censorship, and taxes, Anthony transforms a common sense of hardship and grievance towards authorities elites into musical type.
The tune’s message is straightforward: government-employed or related elites in Washington, the “Wealthy Males North of Richmond,” have made life more durable for Individuals throughout a number of fronts.
Concurrently, the beltwayers north of Richmond thrive. 5 of America’s ten wealthiest counties are in the DC space, but the area’s progress is pushed by those that work for or peddle affect to the federal authorities.
The heartfelt tune comes at a second the place American life, from the economic system to politics and tradition, is downcast, unstable, and divided. And the long run appears to be like darker due to an ever-growing authorities equipment.
Politicians in Washington may gaslight everybody that their insurance policies are fixing present issues, however their phrases ring hole for these exterior the beltway. Confidence in financial leaders and the state of the economic system is extremely low. An inverted yield curve indicators a future recession and bank card debt not too long ago surpassed $1 trillion.
Anthony’s tune is just not overly pessimistic both, although it might sound that approach. As an alternative, “The Wealthy Males North of Richmond” is an earnest man’s ballad on the state of his homeland, pointing his finger squarely on the perpetrator.
Lyrics like “Trigger your greenback ain’t shit and it’s taxed to no finish, ‘Explanation for wealthy males north of Richmond” are straightforward for listeners to determine with excessive taxes and inflation.
Censorship additionally will get a nod, “Lord is aware of all of them simply wanna have complete management, Wanna know what you suppose, wanna know what you do, And so they don’t suppose you recognize, however I do know that you just do,” is a spot-on depiction of the Biden administration’s perspective towards suppressing dissent.
The President’s lackeys have pressured social media companies to censor customers all through his tenure.
The tune’s recognition demonstrates what number of are hungry for cultural recognition of the burdens the federal government has positioned upon them. They’re fed up and offended – and the Wealthy Males North of Richmond are in charge.
Not everyone seems to be equally captivated by the tune’s message. It has predictably struck a nerve with highly effective elites.
“The tune’s lyrics revolve round frequent right-wing speaking factors similar to inflation,” may be discovered on a not too long ago created Wikipedia web page.
Legacy media journalists have been fast to denigrate Anthony by guilt by affiliation, writing articles shifting the story away from the tune itself and towards the right-wing influencers who get pleasure from his music.
One conservative, Nationwide Assessment govt editor Mark Antonio Wright, turned his nostril up at Anthony’s tune, writing, “My brother in Christ, you reside in america of America in 2023 — if you happen to’re a match, able-bodied man, and also you’re working ‘extra time hours for bullshit pay,’ you must discover a new job.”
Not solely does this miss the mark (the tune is anti-government, not anti-America), however Antonio Wright’s phrases come throughout just like the scene in American Psycho the place Patrick Bateman tells a shivering homeless man to “get a goddamn job, Al.”
Stephen Daisley presents a totally different critique within the Spectator, claiming that “Proper-populism… merely allies itself to unhealthy style as a result of it’s low-status and thus in rise up towards the great style of these whose views are high-status.” Would Daisley have accepted the Appalachian people tune if it have been composed in iambic pentameter?
Such critiques fall brief as a result of Anthony is just not attempting to be “high-brow.” The tune works as a result of it’s the reverse: a refreshing depiction of the harms a runaway federal authorities has inflicted on working Individuals, sung by a working American.
“Wealthy Males North of Richmond” is a cri de coeur towards the trendy administrative state and its penalties, capturing the day’s sentiment in a approach that makes it worthy of a hear. Whether or not it’s half of a bigger cultural and political shift stays to be seen.