The lead single from Slash's fourth album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators concerns how the public gets fooled by the powerful.
All in the name of nothing
Have we been hypnotized?
No doubt the end is coming
We're out of time
Their lies and schemes convince more and more people, threatening our existence.
The river is rising
The tide is high
Will we drown in paradise?
Vocalist Myles Kennedy said: "The lyric ultimately explores how humans can be brainwashed or indoctrinated by some sort of dangerous idea."
For the 4
album, Slash and the band traveled to Nashville and recorded at the historic RCA Studio A. The guitarist enlisted Dave Cobb, a noted producer in the Nashville scene who has worked with artists like Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile
, and Zac Brown Band.
Cobb shared the band's desire to lay down the tracks live in the studio, a tactic they had not employed on the previous albums. Slash, Kennedy and the band did all the instruments and vocals live for the album, including the guitar solos.
"The record just sounds like the band playing the songs that we came in with, but it's us playing in the moment," Slash said. "And that's what we were going for."
"The River Is Rising" was one of the last songs Slash wrote before they started pre-production. Because it was so fresh, it was the first track they laid down in the studio. "For the double-time part, that was something that I came up with and tagged onto the end of the arrangement," the guitarist recalled. "Then when we were over at RCA, Dave Cobb suggested we do it right after the breakdown. So, we went straight into the fast part, and I just started doing the guitar solo over it. It was one of those things where we were jamming around, trying to fish out the arrangement, and it just happened."
Despite conscious efforts to stay safe while recording 4, most of the band still went down with COVID. Kennedy was the first to contract the virus. "When I listen to a song like 'The River Is Rising,' by that point I was starting to get pretty sick," the singer explained. "You can hear it in my voice, how congested I was. But that's part of what I think is really interesting about this record. We just let those imperfections lay. Because it's all part of the story."
4 is the first album released by Gibson Records, a label focused on releasing "guitar-centric music, across genres."
Gibson TV director Todd Harapiak shot the song's music video on location in downtown Los Angeles.
Kennedy penned the lyrics after watching a TV documentary series about cults of personality throughout history. The segment about cult leader David Koresh and the 1993 Waco Siege
really hit him and inspired him to write about charismatic cult leaders who manipulate their followers. "I like things like that from a psychological point of view," he told Billboard
. "I'm really interested in how malleable humans can be."