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Randy Newman: Sail Away

Mark Leviton, Words & Music, September 1972

Randy Newman deals with subjects and values that are all but forgotten in contemporary pop music, reflecting in his ironic, witty songs some profundities which have been sorely neglected. Newman sings about God, Country, Old Age and Love with a vision that no other possesses, because he has a keen sense of history, the value of tradition, and the basic needs of human beings. His concern for the problems of old age are especially poignant in light of modern hedonism and emphasis on youth's supreme worth. 'Old Man' is a devastating image of death, which is all the more horrible because there "Won't be no God to comfort you/You taught me not to believe in that lie." Newman can see both sides of religion, and on Sail Away he writes both 'He Gives Us All His Love', a simple prayer to God the Father, and 'God's Song', a cutting tune which proposes that although God exists, he is at worst malevolent and at best indifferent. After God tells what contempt he holds for mankind, he then says: "I burn down your cities – how blind you must be/I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we/You all must be crazy to put your faith in me/That's why I love mankind."

Total word count of piece: 457


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