So Chicago's New Single Is About Afghanistan and Allah and Stuff


Not long ago, I expressed incredulity when Chicago released a nakedly patriotic single that sounded like a South Park parody of a patriotic single by Chicago.

The veteran band’s latest single, however, seems to mark a change of heart. I guess. You can listen to “Naked In The Garden of Allah” here.

The impetus for this track, available for purchase next week via iTunes, goes back to the immediate aftermath of Desert Storm in the early 1990s — something telegraphed by the title but also the Middle Eastern-imbued flourishes at the beginning and ending of “Naked in the Garden of Allah.” Lamm later added lyrics in the wake of the Afghanistan troop surge in 2011. He began putting down tracks for the tune the following year, which has been bolstered here by a blast of Chicago’s signature brass.

Following as it does the fiery earlier advance track “America,” “Allah” seems to signal a return to more politicized songcraft for Chicago — which, primarily through the songwriting pen of Lamm, often dotted its early albums with topical asides like “Dialogue (Part I & II)” and “Harry Truman.”

Lamm, for his part, has previously described “Naked in the Garden of Allah” as a “very edgy commentary about this past 10 years we’ve spent in the Middle East, screwing everything up. So I may get some blowback from that one, I don’t know.”

Well, Chicago might “get some blowback “for this song but that presumes people outside their core fandom even know they’re still around.