New York based Kiirstin Marilyn‘s new album, released in October, is an album like no other I’ve heard this year. There are No Cats in America is a thirteen track look at the human race, our relationships with each other, with animals and with society in general, and with America, specifically. Defying easy description, this album is a polemic for our times, an album full of protest songs. Kiirstin is a committed vegan and human rights activist and her lyrics clearly show her to be full of empathy and someone willing to voice her thoughts on the world around her. She says “I finally stopped making music I thought other people wanted to hear and started making music I wanted to listen to.”
One of the differing aspects of this album is Kiirstin’s willingness to step into the spoken word, notably on the opener ‘Algus‘ and the final track, ‘Feminism is the Radical Notion That Women are People‘. That these two tracks book end There are No Cats in America, emphasises her belief that society is a long way from achieving equality and even justice. The latter track in particular stays with you long after the first listen.
There are many stop you in your tracks songs on this album, but the one that arrested me the most is ‘The American Dream‘. The scathing yet thought provoking lyrics serve as a four minute guide to American history, taking on the origins and traditions of Thanksgiving as well as the treatment of immigrants into the country. The refrain of “it’s all a lie, this thing you want us to buy” throughout the song reminds us that consumerism is the altar on which the USA continues to pray. The lyrics are feisty, matched by the melody and beat, which takes off into marching band pomp and pageantry for the last fifty seconds or so. Delicious.
‘The Dark‘ is another song that needs further exploration. The slow, ballad like melody and electronic beat come together to form an almost apocalyptic sound that surrounds Kiirstin’s voice as she sings of destruction. At first listen, the lyrics are painfully personal
can’t you hear me when I’m screaming / does my voice mean nothing to you
but play again and the meaning can be seen in political terms; a generation who feel that their voice is not being heard, hence the need for protest. When a situation finally becomes intolerable, then the protests begin, never the other way around. If people feel that the same old situations are being protested against time after time, perhaps all the more reason for albums such as There Are No Cats in America.
Kiirstin’s advice for aspiring musicians reflects her passion for music and activism and above all, tells you to be creative:
First and foremost, if you have a passion for creating music, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough or you shouldn’t waste your time. Creating is never ever a waste of time. Your voice and self expression are important so don’t let anyone silence it. Create music, record it, and put it out into the world. If you can affect, change, or inspire one person it is worth it.
There Are No Cats in America was released on 23 October on Unuka Records. Get your copy here.
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