Published Oct 10, 2016Stepping away from his famed soundtrack work, Randy Newman is returning with a new studio album early next year, marking his first since 2008's Harps and Angels. Right now, though, Newman is teasing the new collection with the song "Putin," which is indeed about infamous Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
As Newman explained to the Washington Post, the song was inspired directly by that meme-generating photo of a shirtless Putin on a horse.
"A person with that much extraordinary amount of power, doing things like that is disturbing but also kind of amusing," Newman said.
He added: "I don't think I set out to write a song about Putin but I'll tell you, another thing that inspired it, there's an old song in the '40s, by the Golden Gate Quartet, a gospel song called 'Stalin Wasn't Stallin' when he fought the beast of Berlin. About Hitler and Stalin. And I love it, that song. So I think 'Stalin Stallin' is what really pointed the direction to me. 'Putin putting his paints on. Stalin wasn't stallin'.'"
Down below, you can listen to "Putin" for yourself. As you'll hear, it does indeed come with a very Russian feel, with a booming orchestra and the "Putin Girls" leading it all.
As far as Newman's new as-yet-untitled album goes, there aren't tons of firm details. He did have this to say about it, however:
Just mixing now. The reason they're waiting now is because I'm doing the pictures and I can't promote it or go on the road with it. I wish it could come out tomorrow. It's sort of different. The songs are a step for me in that there are a few songs that have more than one character in it. Which I can't remember doing very much of. The "Putin" song sort of does. There's a song about Sonny Boy Williamson and one about a pair of famous brothers. And let's see, I'm happy with it … I had a teacher one time who said, some day you do something where you use everything you know. You don't do it ostentatiously where you see the workings going on. But some day, if you're lucky, that will happen. This is the case where I did that about as well as I can do.
As we wait for more details, listen to "Putin" below.