It’s tempting to imagine Randy Newman’s soundtracks for children’s movies as part of some kind of MK Ultra/Manchurian Candidate-esque plot.

Think about it. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” or “Our Town” could plant the seed in the minds of kids all over the world. They could soften those wee ones up for, say, the slave driver’s sales pitch in “Sail Away,” the divine vitriol in “God’s Song” and the before-you-accuse-me dissection of racial oppression in “Rednecks.”

If this were true — and of course it probably isn’t — Newman’s new album Dark Matter would make a great trigger for all the Millennials who saw Toy Story back when they were kindergartners. Like its predecessor Harps and Angels, it certainly suggests that the acerbic, 73 year-old “self-described atheist and communist” sympathizes with the progressively minded youngsters of today.

But even more than Harps and Angels, Dark Matter has the feeling of the wizard pulling back the curtain. It’s as if Newman wants to be as direct as he can about what he thinks and feels in the twilight of his life.

On “The Great Debate,” he lays out his artistic m.o. while mocking science-denying fundamentalists:

Not that Newman has shed his career-long aversion to purely confessional songwriting. “Brothers” imagines JFK approving the Bay of Pigs invasion to help bring singer Celia Cruz to America:

Still, Newman has said in interviews that a good chunk of Dark Matter’s songs were inspired by his own experiences. For example, “Lost Without You” draws upon memories of his ailing mother and father:

Make sure he sleeps in his bed at night/Don’t let him sleep in that chair/If he holds out his hand to you, hold it tight/If that makes you uncomfortable/Or if it embarrasses you/I don’t care

The theme of families and young people pops up throughout the album. The closing track, “Wandering Boy,” is written from the POV of a father whose son has dropped off the grid:

In this context, the riotous mock-anthem “Putin” could serve as an example for 20-something social justice warriors to follow. At the very least, you can imagine Pussy Riot having a good laugh over the way Newman skewers the Russian president’s hubris: