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Hawley gets angry

Up to now the pop crooner Richard Hawley has tended to specialise in nostalgic, yearning tunes about young lovers, or his home city of Sheffield. For his latest record though, the former Pulp member has broadened his subject matter, taking a swipe at the state of the nation.

He describes his seventh album, Standing At The Sky’s Edge as his "angry album". "The gloves are off," he told The Observer. "I don't really write political songs but like most right-minded people I'm angry at what's happening here in Britain. It's to do with having kids, to a degree, and watching them grow and wondering what sort of mess we're going to leave them with."

Hawley is going completely against the trend for escapist, apolitical pop, by penning songs that rail against the British government and what he perceives as its elitist policies. It wasn’t something that came naturally, but he felt it was important to speak out.

"I'm not a soapbox merchant," he says, "but what defines a civilised society for me is that we look after the sick and the elderly, educate our kids, nourish and cherish the next generation and give them ideals that are worth sticking to."

If that sounds old-fashioned, that typifies Richard Hawley, a singer who has always been more interested on old blues and rockabilly than anything contemporary. Don’t expect him to turn up as a guest on X Factor any time soon. "When I look around me at our wider culture, I feel even more alienated. The whole point-and-laugh culture of humiliation. It just makes my skin crawl. I loathe it."

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