We already knew that British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka would be on a throwback kick when he announced his upcoming album Kiwanuka with the retro soul of lead single “You Ain’t The Problem.” The tune borrowed heavily from the psychedelic soul of the ’60s and ’70s, which he channeled even more in the song’s flower child-styled video. He doubles down on that inspired choice with his latest single from the album, “Hero,” and a depiction of the life of a ’60s revolutionary in the song’s music video.
The song itself has all the earmarks of a track from the era. Blaring, Hendrix-esque electric guitar riffs mixed with organ, soulful bass and urgent vocals to create a sound just as turbulent as the era. Michael adds even more urgency with his lyrics, kicking the song off with a plea to his fellow man. “Please don’t shoot me down / I love you like a brother,” he sings. “It’s on the news again / I guess they killed another.” With that, he draws a clear line between the problems of yesteryear and today.
He delves further into the metaphor in the song’s video. Michael plays a musician mixed up in the Black Power Movement who eventually becomes a target of the government. The first images we see are of agents covering up his murder as they plant a gun near his body. From there, we’re taken through his life and the government’s plot to derail the movement’s success. While the video’s themes and message are inspired by the events of 50 years ago, Michael makes sure that the parallels to our modern-day struggle are evident.
We anticipate a lot more where “Hero” came from when Kiwanuka arrives on October 25th. You can get into the visuals of the song and also see a lighter side of Michael Kiwanuka in the video for “You Ain’t The Problem” below.