Sturgill Simpson’s ‘Sing Along’ Is Unlike Anything He’s Done Yet [LISTEN]
The first bit of Sturgill Simpson's highly anticipated new music has arrived. On Tuesday (Aug. 20), the singer-songwriter debuted "Sing Along," from his forthcoming new album and Japanese anime film, Sound & Fury, along with an accompanying music video that previews the movie.
Simpson has said that he's not afraid to expand out of country and Americana, and that's exactly what he's done with "Sing Along." The track mixes '80s electronic sounds with blues and scuzz rock influences. "You've done me wrong, so here's your song / Now sing along," Simpson sings at the end of the chorus.
Simpson recorded "Sing Along," and the entire Sound & Fury album, at Waterford, Mich.'s McGuire Motor Inn. The singer admits he was "kind of in a weird spot" during the creation process.
"I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this anymore because a lot of the business sides of things, and, like, some heartbreak and betrayal, and just learning things that you already know ... And I wanted to express a lot of that. And I was listening to a lot of hip-hop, and Black Sabbath, and the Cars, and old funk records and things," Simpson explains to Beats 1's Zane Lowe of his mindset when making "Sing Along" and Sound & Fury. "We were in Detroit while we were making the record, and I was sort of writing it in real time and listening to a lot of Eminem. And I was just like, 'Man, this guy gets to talk mad s--t. How come we can't do that?'
"So I just sat down and wrote a bunch of mad s--t-talking songs about how f--king awesome we are. And then we recorded it," he continues. "And then I said, 'Man, this isn't weird enough. I should probably go to Japan and, like, get the five most legendary animation directors in history together and get them all drunk and put them to competition to see who can outdo one another, and we'll just animate the whole f--king album.'"
Sound & Fury the film was created by Simpson in partnership with writer, director and Kamikaze Douga animation studio founder Jumpei Mizusaki and character designer and Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki. Koji Morimoto, Michael Arias, Masaru Matsumoto, Henry Thurlow and Arthell Isom also directed, while Shunsuke Ochiai co-executive produced, and Hiroaki Takeuchi served as a production executive. The film is set to music from Simpson's album of the same name, with each song receiving its own segment.
"We went in without any preconceived notions and came out with a really sleazy, steamy, rock 'n' roll record. It’s definitely my most psychedelic. And also my heaviest," says Simpson, who also produced the Sound & Fury album. "I had this idea that it’d be really cool to animate some of these songs, and we ended up with a futuristic, dystopian, post-apocalyptic samurai film."
Simpson's bandmates -- Bobby Emmett, Chuck Bartels and Miles Miller -- are all co-producers of Sound & Fury. John Hill co-produced as well.
Thus far, Simpson has shared two trailers for Sound & Fury, which is due out on Sept. 27. The project will be Simpson's fourth studio album, following 2016's lauded A Sailor's Guide to Earth in 2016. That record won Best Country Album at the Grammy Awards and received plenty of critical and fan acclaim.
Sound & Fury isn't Simpson's only recent foray into film: He'll play a cop in the forthcoming new movie Queen & Slim, contributed a song to and makes an appearance in the zombie film The Dead Don't Die, and had a role in the CBS All Access show One Dollar. The singer joked to late-night TV host Seth Myers in 2018 that acting is his "mid-life crisis."
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