I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m alive. Have we all been unknowingly transported into some cruel alternate universe where what was once confined to imagination is now reality? As I write this, California is burning and a pandemic is ravaging the globe. Police are murdering innocent people of color at-will, domestic terrorism is being thinly veiled in patriotism, facts and logic are ignored, a cartoonish, malevolent blob is nearing totalitarian control, and love is lost. This can’t be real.
I began writing Black Snow roughly two years ago after finding out my wife was pregnant. The process served as a means of coping with the relentless anxiety and bouts of depression that polluted my expected joy. How could I bring a child into a world on the verge of collapse?
The record is a non-linear, fictional collage, set in the not-so-distant future, following the destruction of our climate and the subsequent disintegration of modern society. The songs are primarily narrated from varying first person perspectives: the last standing bristlecone pine, a virus unearthed by fracking (this one was written a year before Covid hit and obviously feels eerily relevant now), the collective voice of animals subjected to human wrath, an estranged lover in a drought-parched Northern Californian landscape, a post-apocalyptic traveler who unearths a working smartphone, the self-serving climate change denier, a father and son choosing optimism and action over apathy and surrender. Other songs are merely descriptive paintings: the Bund neighborhood of Shanghai completely submerged and reclaimed by nature on account of rising sea levels. Consider this a warning. Fiction is finding its way from far-flung to hear and now.
John K. Samson, Craig Finn, Laura Stevenson, Kevin Devine