Girl Crush: Merrill Garbus

Yesterday, the tUnE-yArDs tweeted their new video for My Country.

The tUnE-yArDs are so awesome just thinking about them makes my heart thump harder in my chest. Their album Who Kill is a powerful thing, and they are even mightier live. Merrill can sing like a warrior. I’d say their music is not always easy to like (Dan says it makes him anxious) but I feel like it’s daring me not to like it, and then throwing its hands in the air and saying I don’t give a f*ck what you think! this is what I am and I love the tUnE-yArDs for making no apologies.

Their music is like a call for freedom and expression–and they are not always pretty about it. I find that refreshing.

The video is so defiant–from the fierce looks on the kids’ faces to the warpaint smeared over their noses. Just try and stop us! they seem pound out on the drums. I’ve always loved this song (once submitted it for Song of the Month) and the video raised it to the level of empowering battle cry. As Merrill reclaims the lyrics from My Country Tis of Thee, she sings about living in a country that is anything but a Sweet Land of Liberty.

“How come I cannot see my future within your arms?…
…I never told you what to do
but then you put me in some box.”

So Merrill takes her own words and turns them on their heads. Kids trapped in boxes, and yet shouting, banging, dancing, sticking their tongues out at us. They create their own world in that box. And it’s colorful and strange and beautiful, isn’t it? Of course at the end, they shake themselves free, pick up their heart and walk out the door. Merrill seems to want to challenge us all to do the same. After all, The worst thing about living a lie is just wondering when they’ll find out.

(another one of her this-is-who-we-are-we-don’t-care-what-you-think videos. I love the aesthetic she’s created.)

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