As the adage goes, “idle hands do the devil’s work”. This saying is at the center of Ian Fisher’s new album, aptly titled Idle Hands. On it, the Missouri-born and Berlin-based singer-songwriter delves into his treasure trove of 1970s influences to deliver a gorgeous blend of soulful folk rock. However, it’s just as much about the message as it is the music. Fisher is a world-aware artist who intends to use his platform to voice his thoughts and concerns regarding society in a way that blurs the lines between the personal and political. He looks at heated topics in a way that simultaneously compartmentalizes the issues that make them and humanizes them, too, looking to dissect the “why” just as much as the “how” in the complicated situations that make up our global society today.
At its surface, “If I Could Buy You” is a captivating piece of indie rock fueled by the driving rhythm that artists like Bill Withers and Stevie Nicks have commandeered so well before Fisher. He’s a venerable frontman with a straight-shooting tone that offers itself very well to the sort-of rhythmic rock that he aims to deliver. Instances of synth and a clap-along beat keep it moving forward without missing a step. It’s a delectable composition.
However, as Fisher tells PopMatters, “If I Could Buy You” carries a poignant message at its core.
“The song ‘If I Could Buy You’ approaches the topic of sexism in the only way that I feel justified to do so as a straight white male. That is through self-analysis,” he says. “I believe that people aren’t born sexist. It’s something that we learn. Though I actively try personally to not perpetuate the unjust patriarchy that we’ve been conditioned with, I still catch myself thinking or feeling things that I would define as sexist.”
“This song is a meditation on why I think we objectify each other. It’s not genetic. It’s economic. I think we’ve been so thoroughly socialized to selfishly consume that we have started to view other people as objects whose value is based not on the intrinsic value of being a human being, but rather on how those people affect us personally. We try to ‘consume’ others through dating or sex to affect our self-perception like buying a sports car or a new pair of jeans. Objectification is dehumanization and it goes so deep that I even feel like I loss myself sometimes, wondering if my desires are even my own or just something I’ve been taught to want, seeing myself as a mannequin wearing the new season’s style, and I ask myself, ‘Who owns you?'”
Idle Hands releases on 31 August via Fisher’s own imprint, Ian Fisher Music.
Aug. 10 – Watertower Winery, Ste. Genevieve, MO (USA)
Aug. 11 – Off Broadway, St. Louis (USA)
Oct. 5 – Hamburg, Nochtwache (Germany)
Oct. 6 – Berlin, Privatclub (Germany)
Oct. 7 – Köln, Die Wohngemeinschaft (Germany)
Oct. 8 – Köln, Die Wohngemeinschaft (Germany)
Oct. 10 – Nürnberg, MUZ (Germany)
Oct. 12 – München, Milla (Germany)
Oct. 13 – Dusseldorf, Tube Club (Germany)
Oct. 14 – Freiburg, Swamp (Germany)
Oct. 16 – Frankfurt, Brotfabrik (Germany)
Oct. 17 – Stuttgart, Cafe Galao (Germany)
Oct. 18 – Dachau, Kulturschranne (Germany)
Oct. 19 – Vienna, Haus der Musik (Austria)
Oct. 20 – Timelkam, Private Wedding (Austria)
Oct. 27 – Dornbirn, Spielboden (Austria)
Oct. 28 – St. Gallen, Bahnhof Bruggen (Switzerland)
Oct. 30 – Winterthur, Kraftfeld (Switzerland)
Oct. 31 – Luzern, Neubad (Switzerland)