Probably most famous for being third in line (but the most successful) to record “Love of the Common People,” Thomas shifts from smarmy community-building to an immigrant’s plaint here. It’s a move from a coercive optimism for the poor to an embodiment of living death in which those of means “don’t care if I freeze to death and die.” The “promised land” is a set of shifting goalposts, each subsequent one narrowing the chances of survival. Salvation, too, is a false panacea, with your preacher soliciting money to go to the “holy land.” We’re implored to “give no money to that lying, cheating man.” But this shouldn’t be mistaken for either a sunny worry about equality (i.e. “we all go or no one does”) or a desire for deeds that match the (national) creeds. “Saturday night” proves formative for the trax’s critical dystopia; parties that are “outside” enjoy the practice of aggressive, excessive exchange. Come Sunday, we institute an economic austerity from the bottom up.
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