Fred Thomas, “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II”

Liz Pelly

“How you wanna live? Can you conceive of a living wage? Or does it all just seem like something somebody else would say?” So begins “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II”, a two-minute song that actually feels like a moment of a pause, some space to breath when it shows up four songs into All Are Saved, Fred Thomas’s new, densely packed album full of life-affirming noise-pop poetry, ecstatic spoken-word recollections of blurry half-memories and big-picture conclusions alike.

“What’s so fucked is that this song, though tragically timely, was actually written about two years before the record came out,” Fred Thomas told us in March, speaking about this song specifically. “So my inspirations for writing a song about police violence came before the rampant, horrifying series of highly publicized police murders that have sprung up in the last year and change.”

He continued:

“This exhausted, frustrated song was born more out of reaction to the nonsensically evil limitations being imposed on abortion laws and women’s reproductive health rights that were getting run through Michigan government in 2012, and the constant struggle of all the people around me who are literally starving or otherwise suffering from a broken system. In the years that passed since I wrote it, the cops murdered a black woman in her own home with dubious cause and no consequences right here in the sleepy, collegiate town of Ann Arbor where I live. If it’s happening here, it’s happening everywhere, and things need to drastically change, by force of reason or a people’s uprising. This song is just my observations of things I see happening and the resultant outrage. I don’t know if the song is too vague or daydreamy to accomplish anything, but if there’s any sentiment of defiance at all, it’s positive, regardless of how hard to pin down it might seem.”

The sense of defiance is hard to miss on the recording. And in the video in particular, those exhausted and frustrated feelings comes out: via a single frame clip where Fred plays along to the song in slow motion, a stream of confetti falls and he’s slapped across the face. Watch it above.

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