Song of the Week: The Good, the Bad & the Queen – “Merrie Land”

The British supergroup returns with a pensive, political  number.

Back in 2007, Damon Albarn, in between his many projects, started up a new one with Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen. The group and album, known as The Good, the Bad & the Queen, meshed styles that captured lightning in a bottle. Now, after a decade of silence, it looks like lightning is ready to strike twice, with “Merrie Land.”

The comeback single features a seasick, woozy organ melody. Its laid-back atmosphere lets Albarn gallop through the verses. The lyrics start off sounding like the end of a romance. But as the song moves on, other lyrics such as “No one is leaving/Now this is your home” or “To the fanfare of progress, it’s always the same/We cheer on the clowns as they roll into town” make it clear that he’s speaking to Brexit, the end of a different type of relationship. Background strings reinforce the melancholy in his voice, a feeling that his home country has lost its way. The group’s debut took a hard look at English life. From “Merrie Land,” it looks like the second will be no different.

The Good, the Bad & the Queen’s new record, also titled Merrie Land, is out on Nov. 16.