Rise Against's music often reacts to the current political climate, but with the band's new song "Broken Dreams, Inc.", the Chicago punks found themselves predicting the future.
On the track, frontman Tim McIlrath sings about "barricaded" city streets and grappling with a "chaos we ourselves created." But as McIlrath tells ABC Audio, he had written those lyrics ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and the ongoing mass protests against racism and police brutality.
"As we're releasing the song, I'm thinking, 'No one's gonna believe me when I tell them that I wrote these lyrics in, like, December,'" McIlrath laughs.
"We've always had a foot in dystopian writing, and so what is dystopian writing except for talking about what could happen?" he continues. "[But] I didn't anticipate the lyrics being so on the nose in 2020, to be honest."
In addition to being the first new Rise Against song in three years, "Broken Dreams, Inc." is included on Dark Nights: Death Metal Soundtrack, a music accompaniment to the DC Comics graphic novel series of the same name.
While he wasn't exactly sure at first how "Broken Dreams, Inc." would fit in with the world of Batman and the Joker, McIlrath now feels its parallels with the Dark Nights story are "eerie" and "uncanny." He also bonded with series artist Greg Capullo and composer Tyler Bates over their shared love of their respective forms of storytelling to convey a message, whatever that message might be.
"There's a lot of talking about the struggle over humanity, over the future of humanity, there's internal struggle," McIlrath says of Dark Nights. "The same way that Rise Against has taken songs to talk about society, I think that you can find those messages in this Dark Nights series as well."
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