Mute signee Zola Jesus reflects on the monopolization of mainstream music and reveals her latest tune, “Compass,” which drops February 9.
Hello. There is an heretofore unheard Zola Jesus song embedded below. It’s called “Compass,” and it’s the anthemic b-side to “Hunger,” a single plucked from her latest LP, Taiga. But rather than writing a tired track description about the rolling drums and astral vocals of a backup choir, we’ll let Zola depict the sonics herself.
“‘Hunger’ is about the mania of trying to experience life before it’s over, constantly scraping and racing to figure out the proper course for existence,” Zola explained. “‘Compass,’ on the other hand, is about falling back and trusting your intuition. It’s the resolution to the blinding passion of ‘Hunger.’ ‘Compass’ feels triumphant because in a sense it is—it’s the freedom of giving up control and letting yourself live without giving too much thought to it. Where ‘Hunger’ is tense and erratic, ‘Compass’ is loose and euphoric.”
While we had her on the line, we took the opportunity to flesh out some interesting statements she made in her recent ABC column for Electronic Beats Magazine. Last year, she told us that Sia’s success gives her hope that pop music’s restrictive conventions are crumbling, so we asked her what elements she personally wants to introduce to the mainstream universe.
“One of the most vital problems with modern pop music is the messages in the songs,” she responded. “It’s frustrating to see the power of mainstream music become totally wasted and exploited by meaningless content. The figures of popular music have also become increasingly narrow. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to see rock and alternative music climb the charts and play on the radio, but now it’s nothing but a monopoly of milquetoast corporate control. Growing up and listening to pop music as a young child, I understand the impact of pop icons on children. It’s frustrating to watch kids grow up without strong alternative icons.”
It’s articulate remarks like these that have cemented Zola Jesus’s status as one of our most revered icons of contemporary alternative music. Go on, Zola.