"The lyrical inspiration is the failure of the banks, the way the CEOs walked away, having been rewarded for the mistakes they made."
That's how Marillion lead singer Steve Hogarth described this song in Songfacts interview. Typical of the band, they worked on the F--k Everyone and Run album for a few years before recording it. During this time, the financial crisis of 2008 was being sorted out, and it became clear that few in positions of power would be held responsible.
The "New Kings" are the millionaires that popped up in Russia and used their wealth to buy corporations and other entities around the world, in particular Roman Abramovich, who bought the Chelsea Football Club.
A line in this song was used as a title of the album, which is Marillion's 18th. "We're at a point where I don't know how many more albums we're going to make, so I've decided that it is time to pin my colors to the mast and say things that I feel are important, rather than write another love song," Hogarth told us. "So when I sing, 'F--k everyone and run' in 'The New Kings,' I'm singing it in falsetto - very quietly and tenderly. And sadly. What I'm really saying is, 'This seems to be the prevailing mood in the world at the moment, and isn't it a shame? Isn't it sad that it's come to this?'
What sounds like an angry, almost punk statement when you hear it, it actually isn't. It's in many ways quite the reverse. It's sung in sadness rather than in anger."