NEW YORK — When Barbra Streisand started writing lyrics for her new political song, “Don’t Lie to Me,” she initially aimed for “very subtle” references to President Donald Trump. But she couldn’t help herself.
“I just went ballistic,” she said.
“Don’t Lie to Me,” released Thursday, finds a passionate Streisand questioning the nation’s leader and pleading for change. Lyrics include, “How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?/All that we built has come undone/How do you sleep when the world is burning?/Everyone answers to someone.”
“I just can’t stand what’s going on,” the Oscar, Grammy and Emmy winner said in an interview with The Associated Press in a phone interview Wednesday night. “His assault on our democracy, our institutions, our founders — I think we’re in a fight. … We’re in a war for the soul of America.”
“Don’t Lie to Me” appears on her new album, “Walls,” her first project of mainly original tracks since 2005. It will be released Nov. 2.
Streisand, a proud and outspoken Democrat who has campaigned for politicians over the years, said she felt moved to write original music because of what’s happening in the world. Of “The Rain Will Fall” — another new song she co-wrote — she says, “You can spell rain several ways.”
“But it’s my prophecy,” she said, laughing. “I hope it comes true.”
“Don’t Lie to Me” came to life during a road trip. Streisand said listening to the news in the car “was making me sick, listening to lies, listening to things that are such craziness.” So she turned on music and felt motivated to write a new song.
“I wanted to talk about the things that were making me feel so sad, heartbroken,” she said. “I’m a kind of fierce American. I don’t know who we are anymore as a country. Are we embracing people who flee oppression? Or are we separating children from parents, putting them in cages? I don’t know if people care about the planet, the survival of the planet. Do they care about clean air? Clean water? Clean food? If they do, how could they vote for somebody like Trump, who believes it’s a hoax?”
Streisand adds, “I’m frightened for this country. And yet, I have hope.”
On her 11-track “Walls” album, she also reworked classics like “Imagine,” ”What a Wonderful World” and “What the World Needs Now.”
Streisand, 76, said she “kind of dedicates this album to the young people who are speaking out.”
“It’s important that people vote. It’s important that people believe in the power of their own voice and how much that changes things. It’s like the kids speaking out, the Parkland kids,” she said.
“It’s easy to feel powerless now but we’re not if each of us speak up and get out and vote,” she added.
MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer