Twenty-five years ago, the Minneapolis rock band Soul Asylum released a socially conscious video for its 1993 hit "Runaway Train" that doubled as activism. In showing images of real missing children, the clip, which received regular rotation on MTV, facilitated in the location of 21 of them. Just imagine what would happen if a similar concept was executed in the age of social media. Well, you don't have to.
The nonprofit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has recruited alt-R&B crooner Gallant, electronic-tinged vocalist Skylar Grey, and ragged-throat British singer Jamie N Commons to update the song for 2019. It's called "Runaway Train 25" and it comes with a new visual that spotlights some of the more than 400,000 kids who are reported missing every year.
As 61 percent of recovered children are found in the state in which they're reported missing, the new "Runaway Train" video will — in addition to being amplified via social media — show missing kids based on the viewer's location. This information is updated directly from the NCMEC.
"It's up to us to help bring home #MissingKids," Grey wrote on Twitter to accompany the video's premiere. Pirner, the original songwriter, also told Billboard he's interested to see how the video update might have such an impact thanks to modern technology.
"If it does have an impact at all, I'm pretty thankful that they thought of involving this song for their rebooting of the concept," he said. "It's all with very real intentions and very sincere wanting to help."
Watch the new version, titled "Runaway Train 25," above. Learn more about the project and see how you can help at RunawayTrain25.com.