Rhodri Marsden's Disco Album Aims To Shake Off Brexit Jitters With the Brexit deadline approaching, how are Brits shaking off their anxieties? For musician Rhodri Marsden, who has released a disco Brexit album, the answer is in the boogie.
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Rhodri Marsden's Disco Album Aims To Shake Off Brexit Jitters

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Rhodri Marsden's Disco Album Aims To Shake Off Brexit Jitters

Rhodri Marsden's Disco Album Aims To Shake Off Brexit Jitters

Rhodri Marsden's Disco Album Aims To Shake Off Brexit Jitters

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/769848619/769848620" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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With the Brexit deadline approaching, how are Brits shaking off their anxieties? For musician Rhodri Marsden, who has released a disco Brexit album, the answer is in the boogie.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Anxiety and insecurity surrounding the impending Brexit deadline has settled like a cloud over the U.K. and Europe. How, then, to shake off those nervous jitters?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BACKSTOP")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) Backstop.

RHODRI MARSDEN: For me, the logical response was to channel that anxiety into making a disco album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BACKSTOP")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) For a desperate institution.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Rhodri Marsden is a London-based writer and musician who has released an album just in time. It's called "The Hustle: A Brexit Disco Symphony."

MARSDEN: It kept me away from watching live broadcasts from the British Parliament. And, ultimately, it works out cheaper than therapy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S GO WTO")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) The way for us to go is to go WTO.

MARSDEN: The record isn't so much a protest about Brexit as a protest about the rhetoric that surrounds it. There are phrases over here that, through sheer overuse, have come to mean very strange and bizarre things. And that's what the songs are about, really.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) Where's the improvement on freedom of movement?

MARSDEN: Freedom of movement is a good example. Our former prime minister, Theresa May, would endlessly talk about her commitment to ending freedom of movement. And of course what she wants the country to hear is the end of freedom of movement for people to come to the U.K. But it also represents the end of our freedom of movement to travel and work in mainland Europe. It's almost impossible to satirize. But I did my best.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) You can set up home in Budapest or Rome. You think that's hot? It's really, really not.

MARSDEN: My particular bugbear is alternative arrangements, which is the phrase that politicians over here start to use to describe the way in which they will, in this case, avoid a hard border in Ireland when we leave the EU.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENTS")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) If you're in a mess you helped to create, alternative arrangements make it all great.

MARSDEN: So they just call it alternative arrangements without any further detail. But that's a gift for a songwriter - the idea that alternative arrangements are this panacea for everything. You know, they could unblock your kitchen sink. They could repair a family feud. You know, just use alternative arrangements.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENTS")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) Alternative arrangements don't need to be defined. They're just for peace of mind.

MARSDEN: I had one angry tweet from a man who wanted to know why I hadn't written a song about my lack of respect for democracy. But, you know, there's only so many hours in a day. But they say that the function of protest songs is to help people not feel alone. So, you know, people might listen to it and think, yes, I always thought that the rhetoric from politicians was absolutely ridiculous. And I'm really glad I can now dance around my living room while thinking that. That has to be a good thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD IS BETTER")

ARTICLE 54: (Singing) But we promise that we're going out in style.

MARSDEN: Rhodri Marsden with some new sounds for the U.K. dance floors, "The Hustle: A Brexit Disco Symphony."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARTICLE 54 SONG, "HARD IS BETTER")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Shame on you. Shame on you.

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