As the United States faces its worst COVID-19 numbers yet and U.K. prime minster Boris Johnson cancels everyone’s Christmas travels in light of a “new variant” of coronavirus that is more contagious, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison have decided the timing is right to release a song raging against the stay-at-home orders leaders have put in place in the effort to slow the spread of the disease and save lives. “Do you want to be a free man,” Clapton sings. “Or do you want to be a slave?”
Worse yet, Morrison and Clapton seem to be buying into conspiracy theories that the worlds’ governments are somehow participating in an organized plot to overplay the seriousness of the pandemic in order to exert their power: “Stand and deliver / You let them put the fear on you / Stand and deliver / But not a word you heard was true.” (We’re not above a good conspiracy theory, we just don’t have enough faith in politicians that they’d be able to pull something like that off effectively.)
This is actually the fourth anti-lockdown Morrison has released in recent months. Beginning in September, the artist released “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out,” and “No More Lockdown”—with all proceeds going to Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which helps musicians facing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus and resulting lockdown measures. “There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Rolling Stone reports Clapton has said of the collaboration. “We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
It’s a noble cause, but man do they make it hard to support the effort.