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Kevin Morby Drops New Song, Video In Advance Of 'Oh My God'

On April 26, singer-songwriter Kevin Morby releases an ambitious double-length concept album called Oh My God. Today, he teases it one last time with the deceptively titled "OMG Rock n Roll," a song that fits a thoughtful and ambitious journey into just two and a half minutes.

At first, "OMG Rock n Roll" sounds like a minor bluesy ramble, rolling along amiably even as Morby's words set a portentous scene. Then, about 90 seconds in, he sings, "Oh, my God, Oh, my Lord / Oh, if I die too young / Oh, if that gunman come" — and stops the song in its tracks, smashing into the celestial sounds of a rueful choir. The song borrows some of its words from his 2016 song "Beautiful Strangers," but Morby has something new in mind here: namely, a pointed howl of protest.

"It's meant to be playful, despite the morbid subject matter, and sing sonic praise to rock and roll as a religious experience," Morby writes in a press statement. "More than anything, it's [a song] about gun violence in America. Sutherland Springs, Vegas, Parkland... the list gets longer each year, filled with more cities, more innocent victims and yet nothing's fundamentally changed. It's a sad, scary and ultimately incredibly frustrating affair. We've all made peace with the fact that every time we leave the house we could be senselessly murdered at the hands of someone who should never have been given that power. The song is meant to mirror a public tragedy with its hard pan to the choir almost two minutes in. It's rolling along, living its best life, when suddenly, with a gasp, reality has been turned upside down and all there's left to do is pray to God you don't die."

Oh My God comes out April 26 via Dead Oceans.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)