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Music Geek Track Of The Day: Pussy Riot’s ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Is A Protest Song We Need

Music Geek Track Of The Day: Pussy Riot’s ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Is A Protest Song We Need

Ever since 2012 when a then-unknown group of merry punksters named Pussy Riot staged a guerrilla performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, musical activism has never been the same.

Over the duration of the band’s four-year career, there have been about 10 women who’ve donned the group’s signature balaclavas; however, despite keeping their identities private, two members in particular seem to be getting most of the collective attention—Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova, who appear in the band’s latest video for “I Can’t Breathe,” which is the band’s first song in English (oddly enough, the band said these two members had exited Pussy Riot roughly a year ago.)

Pussy Riot, who also directed the clip, recorded the track in New York in December 2014, right when the city was dealing with the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death. Protests were exploding everywhere and that kind of urban unrest inspired the band to write the song.

The track also features guest appearances from Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Richard Hell and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow).

Garner had such an strong influence on Pussy Riot, it’s no wonder the band chose to honor his memory in the video for “I Can’t Breathe.” The song even features a dramatic reading of his last words to police.

“We really could not breathe for this whole last year,” the women said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “Our previous ideas did not speak to what was happening in the conflict zone in Ukraine as we were realizing that Russia is burying itself alive in terms of the rest of the world. Committing suicide. Daily.”

A second video for “I Can’t Breathe,” which features poignant footage of the Garner protests, has also been released.

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