The Presets ~ My People [2⊘⊘7]

Tall and tan and young and lovely,” the first verse perhaps beginning a brief homage to the Brazillian bossa nova jazz song, “The Girl from Ipanema,” itself a worldwide hit of the 1960s referencing the fashionable neighborhood of southern Rio de Janeiro and (then) seventeen-year-old, Helô Pinheiro. She was, “the paradigm of the young Carioca: a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad in that she carries with her the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone—it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow.” []

Tall and tan and young and lovely. I follow all around the world for you.
And you’ll find out tonight. oh, it’s a world of extremes.
Political ceremony. They’ll never find a happy home for you.
But know that’s not the only chance you’ll get, yeah, you’ll see.

“My People” is the first single from Australian electronic music duo The Presets‘ second album Apocalypso and was nominated for two ARIA Awards, Single of the Year and Best Video (Kris Moyes). It won the latter.

In reference to asylum seekers in Australian detention centers, band member and songwriter Julian Hamilton states, “I wanted to write a song about this horrible phenomenon where people come out here in search of a better life and we lock them up.” Fellow bandmate Kim Moyes said, “In a lot of ways [the song is] a ‘mega-mix’ of three or four Presets ideas and it’s a really glued-together, solid Presets [song].” []

“Still the celebration haunts. Today, I heard it on the radio.
They’ve gone and found a way to get me out from this place.
Soldiers on the waterfront. They wanna ship me far away.
I’ll find my way tonight, so I can find my way to you…”

While the Presets had always been anthemic, My People was a call to arms. It thunders to life with a grinding synthesizer, a clangourous kick drum, and a nasally, stubborn choral line. Then in come the vocals of Julian Hamilton, sounding oddly defiant for a song that’s ostensibly a party jam.

Hamilton continues, ”I felt so horrible about the way we treat these destitute people that I wanted to write a desperate-sounding song – the line ‘let me hear you scream if you’re with me’ could be understood to come from the perspective of someone who is locked up, needing to hear that there are people outside who are behind him and supporting him. I doubt they’re going to be playing The Presets in detention centers, but I really wanted to let everyone know that there are people in Australia who care, and this song is my attempt at doing that.

I’m here with all of my people.
Locked up with all of my people.
So let me hear you scream if you’re with me!”


The Presets’

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