Mid-way through Mirah’s new single “Information,” she sings, “If you put up a wall to protect your side and you stuff your faces with mean old lies, this is how you will kill and die, America.”
It’s a timely message, as stories of immigrant families torn apart by ICE still dominate headlines, and as mid-term elections, which could have a major impact on the future of immigration policy, grow ever nearer. The first single from her forthcoming new album Understanding, “Information” is Mirah’s plea for compassion in the midst of a contentious news cycle that promotes anything but.
“I wrote this song when I was feeling inundated with news and information, reading about so much bad,” she says. “I was thinking about how powerful it would be if all of the people reading and listening to all of this information — the true information, anyways — could use it to turn on their compassion switch, rather than as a trigger for despair or apathy, or to make them shut down towards others. A compassion revolution, brought on by information.”
The track begins on a gentle note, with Mirah, whose long beloved voice has never sounded stronger, singing of “los[ing] your heart and wast[ing] your mind” over a single acoustic guitar. At the chorus, the arrangement swells to an emotional crescendo, as Mirah finds something akin to catharsis in imploring listeners to allow the deluge of information found in each day’s news to “make [them] kind.”
“It’s written with a sense of grief, rage and hope,” she adds. “The dream of this country is one of openness. That is the dream of our best selves. We’ve messed that up in devastating ways over and over again. America was built on genocide, theft, slavery and greed. But if we believe in rectifying injustice and if we do the work necessary to making justice a reality, and we open our minds and hearts to kindness rather than shutting them down and shutting people out, we can offer an open road and a hand to hold to everyone who needs it, no matter where they are coming from. Don’t build walls.”
Understanding is out September 7 via Mirah’s own imprint Absolute Magnitude Recordings. Her sixth studio release, the album follows 2014’s Changing Light. She recorded demos for Understanding at the Bay Area’s Headlands Center for the Arts before returning to her home base of Brooklyn to record with producer Eli Crews and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier.
Listen to “Information” and see the Understanding track list below.
Understanding track list:
- Blinded by the Pretty Light
- Ordinary Day
- Hot Hot
- Love Jetty