On any channel or radio station you turn on, you’ll hear discussions of our current political climate and environmental issues from hurricanes to earthquakes. Devastating the say the least, singer-songwriter Dan Miraldi was heavily impacted by the chaos surrounding last year’s presidential election. He felt like it was time to share his thoughts on social and political issues by writing new music, resulting in his upcoming EP titled Love Under Fire.
“I have never been a super political person. Since turning 18, I have been pretty good about voting. I may have missed a local election here or there. I do not post long rants on Facebook. I share Daily Show clips that I think are funny or informative, but generally have avoided causing a stir politically,” shares Miraldi. “Prior to November 2016, I had never marched in a protest. I had never called a congressperson or senator. In 2017, I have begun doing those things.” With the original intention to release a fourth studio album, Miraldi put the brakes on it to work on Love Under Fire. The result is a six-track EP that is uplifting, hard-hitting, and relevant.
“These are not ordinary times. This is not business as usual. This is not the fun-time power-pop-rock album I wanted to make. Love Under Fire is the loud rock and roll record I needed to make.”
Love Under Fire will not be released until tomorrow, but fans can stream the EP in the player below. As an added bonus, Miraldi discussed the writing process and broke down the release for us in a track-by-track guide!
“The Sweet Sound of Protest”
The best protest songs are the ones where you know what the song is about in its original historical context. However, it can be reused and retranslated for new times and situations. If one is too specific, the song lyrics become dated. Two protest songs that have always moved me are Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Edwin Starr’s “War.” We know they are about the protest movements of the 1960s, but you can easily turn them into modern rallying cries. They are timeless. “War” is as electric as ever and makes me want to march. It makes my blood boil. Stephen Stills’ lyrics in “For What It’s Worth” have always been relevant: “Paranoia strikes deep – into your mind it will creep. It starts when you’re always afraid . . .”
In November 2016, I was alarmed by the number of hate groups who felt empowered by the result of the presidential election. I read articles where the KKK stated its desire expand its presence in my home state of Ohio. This upset me. Across the country there was a rise in hate crimes. I have been living in New York City for the last three years. I have become friends with people from all over the world, of different races, religions and sexual orientations. These are good and kind people who were scared for what the future meant to them and their safety in this country.
I felt the need to write “The Sweet Sound of Protest,” because I could. I hear words and melodies in my head all the time. Now was the time to write a loud brash anti-fascist protest jam. I thought of Martin Niemöller’s poem “First they came . . .” about World War II and Nazi’s crimes against the Jews and other minority groups and how it is easy to be silent when you are not the victim. I am a white heterosexual man and I have never known real persecution. With this EP, I wanted to go on record as to where I stand politically and socially. My goal is to uplift and unite people in non-violent action and in anti-complacency. During these times, complacency is incredibly dangerous. “The Sweet Sound of Protest” is not a song of sorrow. It is a song of action.
“Love Under Fire”
Right after I finished “The Sweet Sound of Protest,” I composed “Love Under Fire.” I wrote this song for my friends in the LGBTQ community. There is fear for what the future holds for their rights. “Love Under Fire” is about fighting despair and finding empowerment. It ties back to some of the themes in “The Sweet Sound of Protest.” In 2015, I watched the Pride parade as it made its way through the West Village. The Supreme Court had just announced its decision for marriage equality. It was a joyful moment and the power of it has stayed with me. “Love Under Fire” is me reaching out to my LGBTQ friends saying that I won’t forget them and I will stand up for them if their rights come under attack.
This song was written August 26, 2015 the day that two journalists in Roanoke, VA were murdered on air by a mentally disturbed former coworker. This song poured out of me as I read the news reports about the killing. I wrote it about the Roanoke shooting, but it is applicable for the countless other shootings that have happened in the U.S. The American people are betrayed by members of Congress who refuse to pass reasonable gun legislation. There are too many politicians who sell out the safety of their constituents just so that they can receive money from special interest lobbyists. On “No Words,” I am calling them out on their hypocrisy. After the next tragedy, those politicians can post “thoughts and prayers” on their social media pages, but real change requires new laws. The song is a short and hopefully they can find time to hear its message.
“Fear is a Powerful Drug”
Our current president rose to power by preying upon the uniformed with his message of fear. Sadly, it worked for him. “Fear is a Powerful Drug” is about a journey. The song deals with despair, fear, fake news, but it ends on a message of hope. I marched in the New York City Women’s March and was inspired to see how many people cared and came out to support their fellow humans. Fear is a powerful drug, but it’s got nothing on love. It’s true.
“Name of Love”
This song is me revisiting my very first protest song. I wrote it when I was a teenager. It deals with war, fear, complacency, religious and political extremism, environmental concerns and guns. It was rerecorded and included on this EP, because the same problems that concerned me as a teenager are still relevant fears today.
“Kids are in the Street”
Musically and lyrically, I see this track as a thank you note to Pete Townshend and Billy-Joe Armstrong. Their music taught me a lot about channeling my angst in song, especially when discussing generational divides. “Kids are in the Street” is on the EP because the millennial generation outnumbers the baby boomers. If this younger generation shows up and votes, then they have the power to shape the government. However, once again, it requires millennials to show up at the polls. You cannot sit out. Voting does not take a lot. Participate by voting and be a part of the democratic process. It is what is required for progress and to protect this country’s future.
Love Under Fire will be released tomorrow, September 22nd. For more information, head on over to https://danmiraldi.com.