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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘In Your Face’ By Cat Power

Chan Marshall, better known by the stage name Cat Power, gave birth to her son in April 2015 around the same time that protests were unfolding in response to Baltimore police who killed Freddie Gray.

She immediately grappled with a world seemingly thrown into complete and utter chaos, and that continued into 2016 and beyond—particularly since there are so many politicians, who care so little about the well-being of women, running the government.

The political climate reminds one of their individual and shared vulnerability. It also makes one acutely aware of those who are privileged enough to live in a society run in this manner without facing any consequences.

Cat Power’s elegant but confrontational song, “In Your Face,” reflects this dynamic. It appears on her latest album, “Wanderer.”

“You never need, you’re American,” she declares. “You never take what you say seriously.”

In one of the verses, she adds, “In the arms of the one you love, you feel safe. You feel so above the hunger on the streets with your safe and your document in its place.”

The people in power she addresses have no reasons to be afraid. Their family is not going to be deported. They have no reason to be worried that their papers are not in order. They know where to find their next meal.

“Your money, your gun.” It gives them security that others oppressed do not have. “Your conscience, sweet like honey,” is grimly mocking.

Lack of empathy allows these elite individuals to go on not feeling so they never think twice about their actions. And when made to do so, they become red-faced. Having to defend what they do offends them.

Cat Power’s lush stripped-down rhythm brilliantly interrogates the present. At the same time, it drips with contempt shared by so many citizens, who feel less secure the more it becomes clear that those ruling over them do not care about their well-being.

Listen to “In Your Face”:

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."