British indie artist Joe Unknown has released his debut single, ‘Ride’.
Not quite rap, not quite punk, ‘Ride’ features Unknown intoning quasi-poetry about… something. I’m told in the press release that the song is “capturing vignettes of day-to-day British culture”, and so the document doth decree. That kit also describes Unknown himself as a mix of Sleaford Mods, The Streets and Slowthai. It sounds a lot to my ears like Working Men Club’s ‘X’, a song I was none too fond of way back when.
The artist explains that he went “crate digging on YouTube” to find the song’s backing track, a phrase I absolutely loathe. Not that I have any pretentious purist favouritism towards actual crate digging, but that’s a line just shouldn’t be uttered. What he stumbled upon was The Damned’s ‘Neat, Neat, Neat’, the opening bass line of which kicks off ‘Ride’.
As I’m learning slowly through my introduction to proper British culture, class is a much bigger deal than it is here in the states. In the press release for ‘Ride’, Unknown attempts to play to both sides with all the vigour of a politician reaching across the aisle.
“If you live in a mansion, you still know what a cheese-and-bean melt tastes like,” he explains. “Those little things in life apply to everyone. What I’m talking about applies to each side, but doesn’t delve too far into either one. I don’t understand why British culture isn’t talked about enough, or why we’re always trying to be something that we’re not.
“I’m not talking about the shit we don’t have, I’m talking about the shit that is around us. There’s a lot of poetry in Britain. I could talk to you about Wetherspoons carpets for like an hour. The aesthetic of ‘Spoons is stunning. The one opposite my flat is a hellhole and it’s beautiful.”
Check out the audio for ‘Ride’ down below.