The Socially Conscious Path Of Faron Sage
Faron Sage was working on his first single, "Wake Up The World," since 2017, when the pandemic hit. Its June 2020 release was accidentally on time with a worldwide pandemic lockdown underway. Now, seven singles later, Faron Sage has established this project as a delivery system for his socially conscious commentary about the day's issues.
Faron Sage is from the UK, where the politics differ from the US. The messaging, however, is not specific to either because it's not political. It's about a social consensus we must embrace globally, asking that we all be socially conscious. Because it's so broad, I felt it necessary to find a specific narrative leading up to "No Alternative," by listening to the previous singles.
In his introduction, Faron addresses the issue of sustainability, asking that we be socially conscious and try to live within our means. He says an economy that relies on neverending growth will deplete our resources.
Ironically, when Faron Sage started this socially conscious project, asking that we, as a people, change how we do things would have been a big ask if not for the pandemic. Almost from the start, things seem to go his way, with many of us, post-pandemic, deciding to approach things differently. This is expressed in his second single, "New Wind."
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Despite the positive outlook in "New Wind," the single to follow, "Inner State," touches on the fallout from the pandemic, stress, anxiety, frustration, etc. With governments moving quickly on making and distributing vaccines, the track points out that it's not for the people but for governments to save their economies. Be that as it may, Faron suggests that we've become socially aware and can see the seams in our governmental structures. In a way, it's affecting our inner state but also revealing that we have options.
The "Discontent" single that followed confirmed that our social consciousness is in a state of discontent, seen through mass protests and uprisings. In this track, he's planted the seeds for what "No Alternative" will become. We're rushing to save a system we're so used to when we should be considering alternatives. "Status Quo" is about the disappointment after COP26 over what our governments aren't doing about the climate crisis, "Head Or Tail" is about the confusion caused by new media online, and "Whole," I feel is a second attempt at what "No Alternative" would become.
"The song deals with the question of how we can throw off the shackles of our social conditioning and become more “whole” as individuals."
The Social Awareness In Declaring There's "No Alternative"
According to his site:
"Faron Sage is a socially-conscious animated musician and writer exploring some of the pressing issues at the heart of 21st century life. This is music and thoughts for a better world." His latest single, "No Alternative" touches on the issue of why we can't seek alternatives to a capitalistic system."
For this particular single, Faron refers to the fact that we blindly accept a status quo with no question, believing there is no alternative. However, we're told there is no alternative when we question it. So, we either isolate ourselves or end up being isolated. What is the solution? He would suggest that other ideas be considered, starting with the socially conscious willingness to entertain them.
Music-wise, the bassline lays down a vibe that promises whatever goes over it is gonna need to keep up. When the rapping starts, I am immediately reminded of The Streets. The fact that this project is tagged as spoken-word: Ken Nordine, the feel of the video and the production, again, Ken Nordine but also Negativland, or The Residents. Those comparisons convince me that this socially conscious approach has a postmodern aesthetic.
His music videos, this one included, are the socially conscious equivalent of the animation videos we would see on School House Rock back in the day, or currently, Robert Reich. Remember when those videos with ukulele background music were the standard? These are a hell of a lot cooler. Here's what Faron Sage had to say about creating the track:
"No Alternative is built over an infectious, jazz-inspired beat that's been going round my head for years. It's a bit of a relief to get it out there, to be honest! Likewise, there are many alternatives to our current capitalist system that I feel really need to be aired more widely so we can all discuss and explore them. Our future depends on it..."
The music changes when we get to 2:14, where it takes on the swing music of the 1930s with a lyrical explosion of different cultural philosophies to give more power to the people. After this, however, not unlike reality, those figures of authority snub out this progressive moment, repeating, "There is no alternative!" Again, the subject matter in the commentary is meant to be broad. Aside from being told that there is no alternative, there are a lot of rabbit holes in the track that we can go down at our peril. I can't help but try to imagine how working with varying philosophies would work. Giving power to the people without some controlling element is not without its problems. We're certain, however, that the Faron Sage project is music for the socially conscious and that he's in the trenches with the rest of us and in it for the long haul.