ANOHNI is this week’s guest on The FADER Interview. On the podcast, the British-American multimedia artist and activist discussed the vast tonal shift between her last album and her new one. Where 2016’s HOPELESSNESS was an eviscerating, explicitly topical endeavor, My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross, due out this Friday (July 7) via Secretly Canadian, is less didactic and more soulful (a sound facilitated in part by producer Jimmy Hogarth and the return of ANOHNI’s band, The Johnsons), though just as intentional in its messaging.
Late in her conversation with The FADER’s Raphael Helfand, the topic turned to “Why Am I Alive Now?,” the third and final single from My Back Was A Bridge, out today (July 5). The song’s lyrics tell a tale of desperation and loneliness in the context of climate apocalypse, but its sound is rich and urgent. When asked about the relationship of the song’s bleak theme and its colorful scenery, ANOHNI revealed the song’s most salient inspiration.
“The music has a big part in the meaning of that song,” she said. “It’s this unfurling, lush tapestry. There’s a sense of abundance — this proliferation that’s the backdrop to a sense of loneliness in the face of these times. Of any of the songs on the record, that one is in conversation with the legacy of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, where he went topically from song to song and accumulated a worldview in the course of an album. That was what I tried to do with HOPELESSNESS. On [My Back Was A Bridge, “Why Am I Alive Now?”] in particular was trying to address that record across the bridge of time.”
Watch the inspired visuals for “Why Am I Alive Now?,” directed by Hunter Schafer, below. Schafer will conduct a Q&A with ANOHNI to accompany the only currently scheduled live performance of My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross this Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, streaming live on ANOHNI’s YouTube channel.
Hear ANOHNI’s full FADER Interview episode via this link, embedded at the bottom of the post, or wherever you get your podcasts.
“The music has a big part in the meaning of that song. It’s this unfurling, lush tapestry,” she explained. “There’s a sense of abundance in the music — this proliferation that is the backdrop to a sense of loneliness in the face of these times. That song, of any of the songs on the record, is in conversation with the legacy of Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On, because that was the record where he really went topically from song to song and accumulated a worldview in the course of an album. That was what I tried to do with HOPELESSNESS. With this record, ‘Why Am I Alive Now?’ and one or two other songs were trying to address that record across the bridge of time.