lawrence rothman
Photo Credit: Floria Sigismondi

With the general election right around the corner, the news from Lawrence Rothman could not have come at a better time. The Los Angeles musician, who identifies as genderfluid, has announced their sophomore album, Good Morning, America/Not a Son. The lead singles from each side of the forthcoming record are out now and expose Rothman’s raw nerves, especially as they consider the state of our nation.

Expect the release of Good Morning, America/Not a Son on January 29th via KRO Records; “Decent Man,” featuring Lucinda Williams, and “Not a Son” can both be heard below. And if you haven’t yet voted, what are you waiting for? 

“Right-wing US Politicians are more so than ever using religion and faith to manipulate and control our free will, puling us decades backward on abortion rights and equality. The old guard MUST be dismantled. Choosing to be neutral or apolitical at this very moment is a dire mistake. … My daughter  around the time of the George Floyd killing, asked me one night ‘are there any decent men left?’ Society’s ills were ever more present to her as our home became the classroom and her social world of school and friends went on pause. I witnessed this young person transform from being a kid inside the bubble of the pre-teen “daydream”  to subscribing to the NY Times and LA Times getting active with social justice online and on the street. She inspired me to sit at my kitchen table and write a record that explored the horrifying current American epoch and how old values and traditions have mis-shaped many of us. … Lucinda Williams’ voice and song have been a constant companion for me during my life’s ups and downs. Her albums have been my family’s soundtrack during these last 6 months. When I wrote “Decent Man” I saw myself on stage trading verses with Lucinda, and it’s a great honor to have her accompany me on this song.”
– Lawrence Rothman

Fittingly, the visuals associated with each of Rothman’s new singles are of decaying US presidents. “Decent Man” marches mournfully, the video meandering as if through a cemetery. At the mention of the Trail of Tears, we glide by Jackson, who ordered indigenous peoples to be violently evicted from their land. We pull in close to Washington’s molded head as Rothman reminds us that “their biggest fail” is the very country we call home. “All that glitters,” as Rothman and Lucinda Williams’ sing, “is gone.” 

This piano dirge, aided by Williams’ unmistakable growl, makes “Decent Man” aptly chilling. On the other side, “Not a Son” is less melodious, beginning with little other than Rothman’s spoken word. Then it flourishes into an jazz experiment, which turns out to be no less cerebral than the poem that makes up its lyrics. 

Rothman’s double album will follow the structure of the leading singles: Good Morning, America promises nine songs with music while Not a Son will feature nine spoken word tracks. Their themes are bound to intermingle, especially when one considers how vital the function of our nation is to our daily life. Make your voice heard by voting and engaging in your local government. 

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by: Zoë Elaine

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