THE SPECIALS “DO NOTHING”
In the year when we celebrate 40 years of the two tone label you are sure to see plenty of 2 Tone vinyls being selected from our collection.
“Do nothing” comes from The Specials’ second album “More Specials” from 1980 published by the 2Tone label. This song, that sounds even more reggae than the entire album, was written during the Thatcher years and what emerges from the text is this overwhelming sense of impotence in the face of the future:
“Nothing ever change, oh no
Nothing ever change “
In the political climate a man is powerless even in front of the law:
“Policeman comes and smacks me in the teeth
I don’t complain, it’s not my function”
“Do nothing” tells of a guy who goes around wondering what it means to be yourself in a world that is so depersonalized and approved, a world where fashion tells you what to be and the law tells you how to behave.
This text is a sad cross-section of the working-class’ feelings, it’s about the perception of not being able to change anything for oneself or for society, or not being able to achieve anything better and to live a meaningless life.Years of recession, racism, strikes, suburbs where British culture mixed with the Caribbean and African American ones, borrowing music genres: reggae, ska, northern soul.
The political theme often returns in The Specials’ lyrics, as in the famous “Ghost Town“, which speaks of abandoned cities due to the strong recession, following the closure of many factories.
Terry Hall and his companions realized the condition of many British cities during the “More Specials” tour and documented the tragic scenarios of the recession in the next album that came.”Do nothing” is the darkest face of the medal represented by Thatcherism, but there is also a better one, one that sees the meeting of many cultures, artistic exchange and healthy social rebellion and is that face that The Specials have represented.