The New World
by X

Album: More Fun In The New World (1983)
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Songfacts®:

  • Exene Cervenka of X considers this the most prescient song in the band's catalog. It tells the story of a homeless person who has heard all the empty promises made by politicians and has now given up hope completely. In fact, he doesn't even know who the president is - they're all just the same to him.

    In a 2019 Songfacts interview with Cervenka, she said: "Homelessness is a ridiculous epidemic. We're just getting into the epidemic of homelessness and what it's going to be in a couple of years."
  • Cervenka and X bass player John Doe do twin lead vocals on this song. They are the credited writers.
  • The refrain of "this was supposed to be the new world" reflects the slogans often heard on campaigns. Many politicians ran on variations of the "it's a new world" theme, only to stick with the status quo once in office.
  • The song opens with the homeless man talking about how the bars aren't open because it must be Election Day. In many states, alcohol sales were prohibited on Election Day, a vestige from the 1800s when bars sometimes doubled as polling places. South Carolina had an Election Day alcohol ban in place until 2014.
  • X made a video for this song that got a smattering of airplay on MTV. Shot with the band in front of a green screen, it looks very dated with poor compositing.

    The band's rise coincided with the launch of MTV, and they made videos early on, the first of which were directed by their producer, Ray Manzarek of The Doors. X had a striking look thanks to the photogenic Exene Cervenka and John Doe, but they never made headway on MTV or on traditional radio. College radio played them, with they stayed underground their entire career. A quirky MTV hit could have changed their fortunes dramatically.
  • This was the opening track to the band's fourth album, their last produced by Ray Manzarek. It was also the last album before guitarist Billy Zoom left the band, marking the first time an original member departed. Zoom came back into the fold in 1998.

Comments: 1

  • E from MichiganI love how they used the "what's his name" line rather than naming a specific president (Reagan at the time). It gives the song a timeless quality that makes it as relevant now as it was back then.
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