Music and politics have always flirted with one another.
Now, the two are firmly hand in hand — from the panoply of protest art in the 2019 Mercury Prize nominations to Stormzy’s rapturous anti-establishment set at Glastonbury, it appears that the country has moved on from that bizzare time Nick Clegg spent £8,000 to reshoot a music video parodying Carly Rae Jepson’s summer bop I Really Like You. Perhaps Sam Smith’s How Do You Sleep? might have been more appropriate.
But while Stormzy’s lyricism on Vossi-Bop literally sparked a march against the UK’s new prime minister on Wednesday, it didn’t explicitly (or rather, specifically) call for out-and-out civil disobedience. The new track from The 1975, however, does exactly that.
The English band released the self-titled track The 1975 on Thursday— a continuation of their practice that names the first track on each their albums after themselves — featuring a guest outside of the band for the first ever time.
The minimalist overture sees Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Nobel Peace Prize nominee who kickstarted the global movement of schoolchildren striking from class to protest inaction on the climate crisis, making a powerful plea to seize our chance to save the world.
All the proceeds from the track will go to Extinction Rebellion, the direct action group which brought London to a standstill in April with a campaign of peaceful public disruption. So, hypothetically, if it went platinum (albeit, with features), it could potentially raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the environmental group — a reminder, fellow nerds: 100 streams on Spotify equals one sale.
New track from @the1975 out today and I’m in it! So happy to collaborate with these great people. All our income from this track titled The 1975 - which will be the opening track on their upcoming album - will go to #ExtinctionRebellion Time to rebel! https://t.co/Pyk4PNbMDlpic.twitter.com/gYfWHyVSwL— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) July 25, 2019
The 1975 is a first look into their new record, rumoured to be called “Notes on a Conditional Form” (the planet! It must be about the planet!) and supposedly out on Feb. 21, 2020.
The single was released on the same day their most recent project, “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships”, was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, marking the best album of the last year in the UK — among several other artists protesting Brexit, racism, poverty, and more in their art.
Frontman Matty Healy and drummer George Daniel traveled to Stockholm in June to meet Thunberg and record the speech, according to NME. The climate activist has since praised the band for being “so strongly engaged in the climate crisis”, and for projecting her message to a “broad new audience.”
“We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed,” Thunberg says in the track. “All political movements in their present form have failed. But homosapiens have not yet failed. Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around.”
“We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people,” she adds. “And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.”
“So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience,” the activist concludes. “It is time to rebel.”
Thunberg talks about the simplicity of the movement in her speech. She argues that we can either stop global temperatures rising above 1.5 degree Celsius, or we choose not to, and urges the world to wake up — a call to action echoed across the band’s artwork for the single.
The release of the single follows a speech she made at the National Assembly in France on July 23, boycotted by some politicians, demanding they “unite behind the science” on climate change.
Extinction Rebellion has had a plethora of celebrity support, especially from within the music industry.
Just last month, Radiohead released hours of music to the public that had been reportedly stolen by hackers, with all proceeds donated to the climate group too — while singer Thom Yorke joined the activists during their protests in April.
The April protests were described by organisers as the biggest civil disobedience event in modern British history. There were over 1,000 arrests in total — eventually pressuring the government into voting to make Britain the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency.
“Music has the power to break through barriers, and right now we really need to break through some barriers if we are to face this emergency,” Extinction Rebellion said in response to the 1975’s track.
Get inspired and make The 1975 the soundtrack to your revolution with the listening linkbelow. Oh, and if you feel moved to put on your protest hat, make sure you add rabbit ears for good measure. It’s cool, we promise.