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Steven Keene: “Save Yourself” (2020) Single Review

We are in trouble. It is obvious no matter which direction we look. Things are bad out there, and they are getting worse. The country took a dreadfully wrong step in 2016, and for some reason decides each morning since then to compound the error with more and more missteps and mistakes. Who is out there who can alter this reality, who can change the course? And will others listen to those people anyway? For it seems everyone has personal troubles which may selfishly outweigh their larger societal concerns. So where do we start? And who has it together enough to lead the way? Singer and songwriter Steven Keene seems to address all of this in his new single, “Save Yourself” (perhaps the full title being “Before You Save The World Save Yourself”). The CD cover includes a humorous message printed on it: “Warning: The viewpoints expressed in this song are not necessarily those of the artist.”

This single, by the way, follows It Is What It Is, which was released in January of this year and features some excellent original material. This new song features the same musicians backing him – Matt O’Ree on guitar, Arne Wendt on keys, Joseph Chiarolanza on bass, Rick Scannella on drums, and Layonne Holmes on backing vocals. The song itself is a mix of rock and blues elements, and features some good work particularly by Arne Wendt on keys. Politics certainly play a part in this song, and Steven makes reference to another Republican who held the office in the lines “There’s a thousand points of light tonight/But nothing can be seen.” I also find myself thinking about the title track to his last release, “It Is What It Is,” in which Steven seems to be reminding us that we can’t change everything, and not to dwell on the things that have hurt us. In that song, he sings “Let go what causes pain/Find peace with this/It is what it is.” However, in the new single the lyrics are delivered with some attitude, and he tells us “There’s far too little peace/And far too much green.” My favorite lines are “You live hand to mouth/You got no pot to piss in/You’re living hand to mouth/You’ve got no pot to piss in/You got your megaphone out/But no one will listen.”