Mistaken as an instruction manual by governments from America to Zimbabwe, George Orwell’s 1984 has a lot to say about the import of words. Music gets less of a look-in, but Orwell’s reflections on the power of propaganda raise important questions about control. The tools of the trade keep getting refined – facial recognition, Big Data surveillance, targeted political disinformation – without regard to ideology. Although written as a caricature of the Soviet Union, in order to discredit the socialists in Britain, 1984 has come to life in countries governed by social-democrats and conservatives alike.
Vaughty’s latest EP, named for the book, follows its story closely with a warning for our times. The title track is a nicely-constructed slice of pop, which brings to mind the Frankie remixes with their apocalyptic voice-overs. It’s a reminder that Big Brother isn’t just a game show in a house with a pool.