Hear Kane Brown’s ‘American Bad Dream,’ a Harrowing, Personal Song About Gun Violence
Kane Brown is raising his voice on the issue of gun violence with his new song, "American Bad Dream." The country singer doesn't shy away from the tough issues taking place in the culture today, using potent lyrics to get a conversation started.
Brown, Sam Ellis, Chase McGill and Josh Hoge co-wrote "American Bad Dream," which takes the notion of the "American Dream" — often associated with success and fortune — and pours reality all over it. The song sheds light on the point of view of young people in the world today as it pertains to mass shootings and policing.
The first verse finds Brown recalling the carefree days of his youth, compared to students today who have to worry about being shot in their classrooms.
"It's like I just closed my eyes / Everybody started fallin' for the devil's disguise / That hides behind the lies / that hides the truth / And I just can't take it no more / So wake me up / From this American bad dream / Is it this messed up? / Or is it really reality?" he asks over brooding music.
Kane Brown's Not Afraid to Address Gun Violence in New Song
Brown also delves into issues around policing in the song, singing, "I remember doing ten over the limit would just get you a ticket / Just an inconvenience getting stopped / Bad cops played the jury, made the good ones worry / About showing up and doing their job."
The singer tells Taste of Country that the song is not intended as anti-police. In fact, his grandmother was a detective whom he proudly calls "a great cop."
"You also have bad cops that were bullied in school or whatever and think that they have power and that makes other cops look bad," he says. "I just feel like everybody should stop hiding behind the lies or just seeing everything on social media and just realize the situation."
Though Brown is aware that he may draw controversy with the song — which is featured on his new album, Experiment — he says it's important to have a conversation on the issues.
"After we finished the song, I felt that we wrote it well enough that you could see that I wasn't trying to say anything bad ... just cause awareness. No matter what artist you are, if you mention anything of this it's assumed people are going to give you hell for it," he tells us.
"American Bad Dream" isn't the first time Brown has addressed thorny social issues. In a recent interview with Billboard, Brown says his race affects how people perceive him, especially in country music.
"Right now, [my race] does matter. People always say, ‘There are plenty of black country artists out there! There is Charley Pride! Darius Rucker!’ That’s all they can name. They don’t understand what we go through, and a lot of people who are fans of traditional country music, as they call it, look at us and aren’t going to say, ‘Y’all like country music,’” he says. "Everyone should have equal opportunities and equal rights, but you can’t even have an opinion without somebody going off on you ... That’s what’s wrong with this world today."
Experiment is available now.