When our so-called leaders fail to do their job, all too often is it left to our artists to put into words what so many of us feel, but simply lack the talent to explain. Thank fuck for people like Jack River, who today has taken the battle against climate change – and a government that seemingly couldn’t care less – to the next level, releasing an explosive protest anthem in the form of ‘We Are The Youth’.
‘We Are The Youth’ is shimmering, joyous and deceptively poignant – a sonic trojan horse, if you will – that smuggles across a hard-hitting narrative within the seemingly innocent folds of alternative rock. “I’m tired, I’m tired of silence / I’m sick, I’m sick of violence,” she croons in the song, committing to music something we all feel too damn well.
For those paying attention to the career of Jack River, real name Holly Rankin, this isn’t her first venture into the realm of social justice. In particular, it was a performance as part of the 2019 School Strike 4 Climate rally on Gadigal land (Sydney) that ‘We Are The Youth’ began to take shape.
“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,” Rankin said in a press release.
Emboldened by the social upheaval of the past 18 months, Rankin knew now was the time to come forward with such a heavy-hitting track. She continued: “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.”
The single’s official video counterpart continues the message of praise for the youth who continue to demand their voices be heard. Created by Nyikina Warrwa and Wangkumara Barkindji filmmaker Marlikka Perdrisat, the film clip features a who’s who of our next generation of leaders, including Jean Hinchcliffe, Grace Tame, and Brittany Higgins, as well as global advocates like Amanda Gorman (US), Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Chad), and Autumn Peltier (Canada).