Putin

Album: Dark Matter (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • In the middle of the 2016 US election, Randy Newman decided to release a song he'd been working on about a different egomaniacal alpha-male to Trump. The track is a typically Newman-esque sarcastic ode to Vladimir Putin, in which he ponders his land and power.

    He can power a nuclear reactor
    With the left side of his brain!
    And when he take his shirt off
    He drive the ladies crazy!


    Released as a single on October 10, 2016, it was accompanied by a statement from Newman, reading: "Here's a song dedicated to a great world leader. I hope all of you like it. I know he will."
  • During an interview with Pitchfork, the comment was made that with the alteration of a couple of lyrics, the song could be about Trump. Newman responded:

    "Yup. Though this one is way less critical of Putin than I thought I would have been. As I'm doing it, I'm saying to myself, I'm not criticizing him enough. He's a bad guy. But I was conscious of it being too easy. It's like writing an anti-war song that goes, "War is bad." Well yeah, of course it is!"
  • Newman first started working on the song in around 2014. He said:

    "It was when all those pictures were appearing of him with his shirt off, and I couldn't understand why. What did he want? I think it was just personal vanity of some kind, like he wanted to be Tom Cruise. It wasn't enough to be the richest and most powerful. He wanted to be the most handsome and a superhero, throwing young people around and wrestling. It's a strange thing."
  • Asked by The Guardian what made him write a pop tune about Putin, Randy Newman replied:

    "I was inspired by an old gospel song called Stalin Wasn't Stallin', and by the odd shirt-off stuff that works in his country. He's not only the richest man in the world and the most powerful, but he wants to be Tom Cruise at the same time."
  • Newman won his seventh Grammy Award when this took the trophy for Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals at the 2018 ceremony.

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