"Are We Free?" is the latest single from double platinum selling Mick Flannery, and one of Ireland’s most exciting newcomers, Susan O'Neill. The song is the fourth single from the pair’s upcoming collaborative album ‘In the Game’, coming September 10th, which charts a couple’s coming together and falling apart, a journey familiar to most. It charts the highs and lows of the game of love, that raw space that the human condition can leave one most vulnerable.
‘Are We Free?’ was written by Mick as a sister song to the 2020 single ‘Baby Talk’, which won ‘Best Original Song of The Year’ at the prestigious RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards. Speaking of the song, Susan tells us: “The couple are really at one of their worst moments here. Cutting across one and other in heated arguments. It was really different to embody this type of emotion, getting into character for a fight to be sung.”
O'Neill's vocal is sharp, with an accusing tone whereas Flannery is the one trying to make up and find a solution. We all know these situations and it's usually the fault of both sides. The string arrangement and the chorus install a road to reconciliation. The ending is left open, for the listener to decide whether they made it.
Mick and Susan’s forthcoming record encapsulates the sound of two truly unique artists working in complete harmony. Produced ‘virtually’ by LA based, Australian producer Tony Buchen (Courtney Barnett, Smashing Pumpkins, Tim Finn) it features musicians from both Ireland and America, including ‘Death Cab for Cuties’ Zac Rae on Wurlitzer duties.
Spitting lyrics display intensified emotions compared to ‘Baby Talk’, with the fictitious couple’s fighting at its worst, Mick uses common phrases that warring couples use in their inevitable clashes:
“Oh you love to paint yourself
The perfect victim every time
It could not be a problem
That I am never on your mind
You’ve been right forever
It’s written in that little smile…”
Pre-order In The Game here
Photo: Michael Conlon
A short documentary directed by album videographer collaborator Christopher Luke details the journey of how the album came about