Greta Thunberg adds her voice to a new song by The 1975
International climate activist Greta Thunberg is using a new type of microphone to amplify her message: her pop music debut. You can hear her on the first track off the U.K. band The 1975’s new album, Notes on a Conditional Form. Set to slow, tinkering piano, with occasional surges in synthesizer and saxophone, the 16-year-old’s distinctive speech calls for mass civil disobedience to force action on the climate emergency.
“We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis,” Thunberg begins. Much of the ensuing words echo Thunberg’s January 2018 speech at the World Economic Forum, though the band leaders and Thunberg worked on composing a new version specifically for the song.
Of the track, Thunberg told the Guardian: “We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”
A British indie-pop-rock sensation, The 1975 famously don’t feature other artists on their songs (calling the increasingly wide-spread practice “shameless attention-grabs”), so to feature Greta on the first release from their new album is quite a statement. In another break from tradition, the first track on a 1975 album usually is instrumental-only.
An even bigger statement? All proceeds from the song will go to nascent environmental activism group Extinction Rebellion. “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,” the group said in a statement.
Thunberg ends the song with an open call for civil disobedience. “I ask you to please wake up, and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough: We must all do the seemingly impossible. We can no longer save the world, because the rules have to change. Everything has to change, and it starts today,” she says.
“It is time to rebel.”
The 1975 are performing at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival Paris in late October. No word yet on whether Thunberg will take the stage.