Stompy, sultry, and vaguely threatening, “Generals” is a wondrous rave-up of a protest song. And given that this was released last month, and recorded however many weeks or months before that, it sounds positively prescient. They might want to be singing this one in Texas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and everywhere else that male politicians have been medievally attempting to trample on the rights of living, breathing citizens who happen to be women. “Calling all my generals, my daughters, my revolutionaires/We’ve got strength in numbers and they’re going to pay for it.” We can only hope. And I mean pay for it in November, at the ballot box, just to be clear.
I am an unabashed fan of Laura Burhenn, the Mynabirds’ Omaha-based front woman/mastermind—two songs from the 2010 debut album were featured here, in January and May of that year. (She also stopped by, virtually, for a Q&A in April.) I love her dusky, hungry voice, and how she embraces and embodies the past to create such spirited sounds in the here and now. “Generals,” all bass and war drum, has a harder edge than anything on the debut album, even as it retains a sense of poise and playfulness. It seems at once memorable and hard to get a grip on, probably because of how the verses chug to an adamant backbeat while the chorus, without effecting a time signature change, grinds to a heavy, half-time chant of a melody; and then the catchiest part turns out not to be in either the verse or the chorus, but is that “Haven’t I paid my dues?” bit between the two. Keep listening to this one, it burrows into the soul.
“Generals” is the first track made available from the Mynabirds forthcoming album of the same name, due out on Saddle Creek Records in June. MP3 via Magnet Magazine, or Burhenn will give you the download herself if you join her mailing list.
photo credit: Shervin Lainez