On the heels of his history-making No. 1 with the viral hit “Rich Men North of Richmond,” Oliver Anthony dropped a video for his new single, “I Want To Go Home.” The acoustic ballad — which was originally uploaded to TikTok in March — got a new video on Tuesday (Aug. 22). It is another meditation on what ails the nation, which in Anthony’s telling includes mental illness, fears of war, urban spread, the loss of family farms and the lack of prayer in our lives.
“If it won’t for my old dogs and the good Lord/ They’d have me strung up in the psych ward/ ‘Cause every day livin’ in this new world/ Is one too many days to me,” Anthony sings in the first verse in his signature about-to-break voice in lines that appear to allude to the singer’s talk of pre-fame struggle with mental illness and alcohol use.
The clouds grow darker in the second verse, where he sings, “Son, we’re on the brink of the next world war/ And I don’t think nobody’s prayin’ no more/ And I ain’t sayin I know it for sure/ I’m just down on my knees,” before breaking into the chorus, which closes a circle by alluding to his breakthrough hit while providing a more personal perspective.
“Beggin’, Lord, take me home/ I wanna go home/ I don’t know which road to go
It’s been so long/ I just know I didn’t used to wake up feelin’ this way/ Cussin’ myself every damn day/ There’s always some kind of bill to pay/ People just doin’ what the rich men say/ I wanna go home,” he croons in the plainspoken visual, in which he strums an acoustic guitar in the woods surrounded by his pickup truck and his trusty dog.
The final verse laments the loss of long-held family farms sold to out-of-town speculators who clear-cutting trees to make room for more asphalt jungles. As the final note rings out in the video, the screen fills with a bible quote from Mark 8:36 about the folly of choosing material riches over salvation: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the world, and lose his own soul?”
Previously unknown former factory worker from Virginia Anthony (born Christopher Anthony Lunsford) made a historic jump to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart this week, leaping past such pop megastars as Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and Dua Lipa in addition to more established country stars Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs. In doing so, the singer became the first unsigned artist to make that jump directly to the top, as well as the first to run straight to No. 1 without any prior chart history in any form thanks to the song that has been embraced and boosted by right-wing pundits and Fox News.
“I Want To Go Home” is among a dozen originals and covers Anthony has uploaded over the past three years and though the singer’s just-folks style and focus on heartland issues have instantly boosted his working man profile, Billboard estimated this week that he’s earned over $350,000 in royalties so far thanks to his “Rich Men” breakthrough.
“In our opinion, God has chosen to speak through Oliver and to speak to all Americans through his music, all around the world,” the singer’s co-manager Draven Riffe told Billboard over the weekend in explaining his client’s shock success. “We’ve gotten comments from Zimbabwe, every country you could think of.”
Though Anthony has kept a low profile during his rocket rise, mostly eschewing promotional social media teases and posts while preferring to let “Rich Men” do the talking, he did grant an interview to right-wing channel Fox News over the weekend at the site of his free show in Moyock, N.C.
“We are the melting pot of the world,” he said in the chat, adding, “and that’s what makes us strong, our diversity. And we need to learn to harness that and appreciate it and not use it as a political tool to keep everyone separate from it.” The inclusive comment struck a bum note for some conservatives, however, who accused the singer of turning his back on them.
“Such a let down. Did he sell out already to the rich men north of Richmond?,” wrote one. “Damn, though we had a real one. He switched up fast,” said another.
Watch the “I Want To Go Home” video below.