Dickinson's Songs of Protest
NEW YORK — ALTHOUGH Bruce Dickinson maintains the rebellious stance of a true rock-and-roller on his new album - in both the ripsnorting, wall-of-sound energy of his music and the grating intensity of his vocals - the lyrics he writes and sings often reveal a social conscience. In the title song of his new album, ``Tattooed Millionaire,'' he attacks the hypocrisy often associated with rockers' wealth and fame: ``Tattooed boys with expensive toys/ Living in a bubble of sin/ Money can buy you most of anything/ Fix your nose or the mess you're in/ Front page news you can share your views/ With a population that wants to be like you.''
Dickinson also sings about the dead-end life of the streets on the angry, explosive ``No Lies'': ``On a corner of a red-light street/ Where the dealers and the junkies and the graveyards meet/ By the light of a streetlight moon/ If you hang around here babe - you're leaving soon/ On the run from a country from the law/ Here's a safe place behind every front door/ Wanna wander where the guidebook doesn't go/ Watching the windows - part of the sideshow/ Where the money men's wallets bleed/ Where the fat cat winners fill their need/ Where the vicar goes for his sin/ Where the stickup artist gets stuck in....''
There's still more social comment in ``Born in '58,'' a song that finds Dickinson alternating between his usual feisty hard-rock attack and a kind of sweetness: ``Born in a mining town in '58/ When black-and-white TV was up to date/ And men were still around/ Who fought for freedom - stood their ground/ ... My grandfather taught me how to fight/ Old-fashioned stuff like wrong and right/ But all around I see his morals/ Buried in a mess of money troubles.''
In ``Hell on Wheels,'' a hard-driving blockbuster of a song, where a motorcycle becomes a metaphor, Dickinson warns: ``Hard to steer when the devil's driving/ Hell on wheels and the brakes won't hold.''
And in the yearning, classic metal ballad ``Gypsy Road,'' he urges: ``Think about freedom/ Dream a little every day/ Suddenly you'll find yourself there/ Follow me, walk this way/ I'll find my dreams/ You'll find yours too....''