Jack River (real name Holly Rankin) has just released the energising, anthemic ‘We Are The Youth’, with its spine-tingling call for positive change in the face of climate change, First Nations struggle and violence against women. This single has all the emotional impact of a classic like Peter Gabriel’s ‘Biko’: barely restrained, seething anger against injustice, inequality and environmental stupidity delivered through the most indelible and euphoric melodies. It is a powerful call to arms.
But a powerful message is not all what this single is – it is, in addition, a brilliant piece of indie pop with a shimmering melody and powerful instrumentation, carrying Rankin’s velvet vocals soaked in melancholy and resilience.
Rankin says of the track, inspired when she spoke at a School Strike 4 Climate rally on Gadigal land (Sydney):
I played to 80,000 young people, and I realised that I didn’t have an anthem for them, and myself – to express how we felt about the times. At the same time as there is widespread climate injustice, there is ongoing abuse of power on many fronts in our society: against First Nations people, in the halls of parliament, and in workplaces everywhere. People are tired of it. We want change and action, and we are ready to work to build our way out of a broken system.
Produced by Matt Corby and Jack River with additional production by Adam Hyde (Peking Duk), the accompanying video was directed by Marlikka Perdrisat, featuring clips of Jean Hinchliffe, Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins, Amanda Gorman (US), Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Chad) and Autumn Peltier (Canada).
The power of the song and the visuals are inspiring. Rankin says:
I want people to feel like this generation has their back if they’re taking urgent action. We’re all in this together, and every single individual’s actions matter.
What a glorious protest song and what a vital message. You can download or stream the single here.