November 18, 20213 Minutes

Tom Morello Teams Up With Barns Courtney On New Single, “Human”

Collaboration is key.

Collaboration provided the route out of creative stagnation for Tom Morello earlier this year. The legendary Rage Against The Machine riff master hadn’t picked up a guitar in four months when he began reaching out to friends in his musical circle. The result was The Atlas Underground Fire – the second in what is now a trilogy of albums, following 2018’s The Atlas Underground Released in October, Fire… It featured talents as varied across the genres as Damian Marley, Palestinian techno artist Sama’ Abdulhadi, Eddie Vedder and Bruce Springsteen. We’d barely had chance to digest those 12 tracks, when Morello announced he was releasing a “sister album”.

“Fire and Flood are my London Calling,” Morello contends, explaining the inspiration provided by The Clash. “I sought to make a double album where artistic intent supersedes genre. I aimed to forge a central curated vision to tie together a sonically fearless, wild and wide-ranging musical ambition with a tremendous cast of collaborators. And of course, there are many guitar solos.”

"Getting to work with different artists of different genres from all over the world, it provided an oasis in a time of great fear and anxiety. This record was an excuse to settle the demons in my brain down during a time where there were plenty of them.."

— Tom Morello discussing the making of "Human"

Oh my God, I'm an animal...

‘Human’, led by the British-born songwriter Barns Courtney, is confident and radio-friendly, more akin to Bastille’s millennial art-pop than the snarling fury of Morello’s day job.

Human will no doubt have some die-hard Rage fans reaching for the skip button. It’s a slice of strident mainstream rock, based on a grinding synth-bass groove and featuring fiery frontman and whimsical English song-writer Barns Courtney, who throughout the chorus repeats the phrase: “Oh my God, I’m an animal, Oh my God, I’ma have it all, I’m losing, I’m losing my way back to human.” In our humble opinion, out of anything from Tom Morello’s two releases these past couple months, this is the track to get playlisting treatment.

"Hands up chief, get the bit in your teeth/Or they never will remember your name/We fight fire with fire, would you call me a liar/If I told you that I wasn't afraid?"

— "Human" Tom Morello ft. Barns Courtney

Stream "Human" on Spotify

"I must have rescued puppies in my past life to be on a record with Tom Morello that is being released on my birthday."

— Barns Courtney on working with Tom Morello

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