John Lennon wrote “Revolution” in the aftermath of early 1968 protests opposing the Vietnam War, particularly following the Tet Offensive. Credited to the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership, the raucous bluesy number urged social change, one of their first overtly political songs of their career, while demonstrating great empathy and understanding.
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Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, singer-songwriter Julie Mintz reimagines the iconic pop classic into a more ethereal performance, produced by long-standing collaborator Moby. Mintz began performing “Revolution” many years ago as part of her live shows leading into the 2016 presidential election. “It is such an inspiring protest song, and the audience seemed to enjoy hearing it performed in a stripped-down version,” says Mintz, who began recording the song with Moby at his home studio five years ago.
“But the timing didn’t feel right to release the song, and we never finished it,” she adds. “I have always admired musicians who use their music and their voice for political and social activism.”
In the days following the Capitol riots back in January, Moby rediscovered the track on his computer. 2021 seemed as good time as any to finally release it. “I also think the music video set to footage of the riots is very poignant,” Mintz reflects. “I love that even though this song was written in a different era, it is relevant to what is going on in our world today. If you watch the homemade music video I put together, it is chilling how this 1960s protest song is an apt soundtrack to our current reality.”
Sparse production gives a surprising amount of weight to the lyrics, in much the same way as Lennon’s equally-affecting “Imagine.” You say you want a revolution / Well, you know, we all want to change the world, Mintz sings with angelic ease. You tell me that it’s evolution / Well, you know, we all want to change the world.
An LA transplant, Mintz first began working as a background vocalist and keyboardist in Moby’s live band in 2011. She later released her debut record, Abandon All Hope of Fruition, a country-tinged nod to her vast influences, in 2018. Many of the greats, from Joni Mitchelle to Patty Griffin and Emmylou Harris, inform her work. “It’s so important as an aspiring female singer-songwriter to see the talented women who have come before me,” she says.
Of course, the Beatles are another obvious influence. “If one is a songwriter, the Beatles are a musical influence either directly or indirectly. Even if you didn’t grow up listening to the Beatles, your songwriting heroes were most likely influenced by them, so their impact is enduring and inescapable one way or another,” offers Mintz. “I have a deep love of learning and am always trying to further educate myself.”
In fact, Mintz once took a class in which she specifically analyzed the band’s songwriting, breaking down “the music theory and chord progressions of their songs. That may sound tedious and overly intellectual to some people, but I really love the mathematical and structured part of music. It calms me to understand the music theory behind a song I’m writing.”
As Mintz continues honing her own songwriting perspective, often writing the “majority of my songs alone,” she finds great power and healing in her work. “I definitely write at my best when I am wrestling with an emotional conundrum. When I’m struggling with a problem or disappointment, putting it to lyrics and music really soothes me. I’m most often driven to create when I’m feeling down.”