tUnE-yArDs Uses Her Lungs

Merrill Garbus defeats the curse of the real thing on incredible new album Nikki Nack

Ironically, her statement somewhat echoes Klosterman's. Despite her freewheeling attitude towards letting the audience answer their own questions, she fears misinterpretation: "The danger in that is people hear what they want to hear in it, or people hear what they don't want to hear in it."

"Someone thought that ‘Powa' was a pro-life song, which I didn't really understand. That was one of the only times where someone was like, ‘Is the song about this?' and I was like, no. Some people want to say ‘Gangsta' is about being white and wanting to be black.' I mean yeah, but…no. That's not where the inspiration came from and that wasn't the story that it came out of. I just hope people can continue to take what they need to from these songs, and not ask for permission to hear what they hear. They do not need my permission to know what a song's about."

But not all interpretations have been for the worse: "'The worst thing about living a lie is just wondering when they'll find out,' [from 2011's "My Country"] I had a lot of people thank me for that line who were queer and said ‘That really helped me come out,'" she says. "It's part of this whole complex truth that a lot of things can fit into a lot of lines. It becomes more of an experience thing than like, ‘this was written for this specific type of person.'"

Location Info


Rough Trade NYC

64 N. 9th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Category: Music Venues

Region: Brooklyn


tunE-yArDs plays Wednesday, May 7 at Rough Trade in Brooklyn.

A self-described anxious person who considered buying a mattress an "intense" experience, Garbus has no desire to shut down chatter she doesn't want to hear. "When you're in the public sphere at all, there's a fear of misrepresentation in the media. On the other hand, I went to an all-women's liberal arts college where we learned to dissect and criticize every single thing that we saw. I want people to do that, I want to be checked. That's why I want to be complicated. I'm not worried about my reputation or public opinion, I'm worried about whether I can every day go to bed feeling like I was in integrity with my beliefs. And I feel like I have a good grasp on that."

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