Culture / Music

Jack River’s ‘We are the Youth’ is a powerful anthem calling for social and political change

Last week Australian musician Jack River released her new single We are the Youth. As with all things Holly Rankin commits herself to the track carries a vital message about climate action and social justice.

What is that message exactly? One need only press play on her music video to find out. Prefacing the video is a galvanising statement from Jack River. It reads, "This song is dedicate to the billions of young people driving urgent social and political change. We are living in the Anthropocene. The actions of this generation will define the destiny of humanity and the plant for the rest of time."



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Stitched together in the video are momentous clips of activists like Grace Tame and Greta Thunberg calling for action and condemning the apathy of politicians and world leaders. Alongside them are snippets of their contemporaries like Amanda Gorman, Brittany Higgins, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and stirring scenes of school children as they skip class to march for climate action. There's even a cut of Julia Gillard addressing Tony Abbott in her iconic Misogyny speech. Over the top of it flows Jack Rivers dream-pop, hazy in sound but not in essence.

Helming the project is Marlikka Perdrisat, a Nyikina Warrwa and Wangkumara Barkindji woman and filmmaker. She is joined by Matt Corby and Peking Duk’s Adam Hyde who worked on the production on Bundjalung country, while Spike Stent mixed the track.

If you're halfway through the video with a lump in your throat, you're not alone. After all, Jack River wrote the song with both fury and hope on her mind - a cocktail of emotions bound to stir something in our socially and politically fatigued hearts.

"As a songwriter, I can’t go on pretending everything is fine. I needed to write a song that reflects how my generation are feeling about the abuse of power and lack of care present in governments worldwide, especially ours," Jack River said of writing the song.

This is clear. All of these scenes are juxtaposed against examples of our politicians gross incompetence. News footage of Scott Morrison in Hawaii during the catastrophic Australian bushfires of summer 2020 is a telling sign of his stance on climate change, second only to that time he brought a lump of coal into parliament. Pauline Hanson stuck atop Uluru - a sacred site for the Anangu people - as she tries to clutch at white Australia's slackening grip over the countries history.

"But I also wanted to write of the electricity in the air, the feeling of action that turns blind hope into reality," Jack River continued.

We are the Youth is a powerful reminder that the battle against climate change, racism and misogyny is far from over and that we need to collectively keep putting in the work.

You can watch the full music video below.

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Images: Instagram