Blake Lewis and KJ Sawka have always managed to balance audience demand with intimate attention to craft and detail. While they’ve made loads of of crowd-pleasing pop, rock, and electronic music, at the same time they’ve always demonstrated a deep awareness of musical history, along with the timeless qualities of the best recordings. Now, with their first release together as The Private Language, it should come as no surprise that it’s a cover of a certified classic, the 1985 chart topper, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’, by Tears For Fears.
Lewis and Sawka have made the song their own, by which is to say, they have a deep understanding of the experimental intentions of Tears For Fears, and understand well enough that Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal would expect any cover to be a total transformation. Of course, it doesn’t mean the song isn’t instantly recognisable; it’s certainly that, but at the same time, the advances in electronic recording give it a different edge, while retaining the timelessness of the original.
When it was first released in the mid 1980s, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ was a pointed statement directed at the overweening greed and ambition that was rampant at the time. It was a gentle poke, but an obvious one nonetheless. As time has passed, we can see that things haven’t changed so much as we’d have liked by now, and the song is – sadly – every bit as relevant as it was back then. The video for The Private Language’s version takes a whirlwind overview of the world as it stands today: conflict, destabilisation, demands for justice, and a ecological catastrophe on an ever-nearing horizon. Wearing sunglasses that look like inverted but melting crowns, The Private Language seem to imply that leadership has turned to tears. We can still stem the tide – but only if we want to. Do we want to? And how badly?
Watch the music video for ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ below, and find out more about The Private Language online on Instagram.