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Alt-J Address Climate Change On New Album “Relaxer”

These days, a growing number of artists– from actors and musicians to chefs and cartoonists– are using their creative platform as an opportunity to tell stories about the future of our planet.

Leonardo DiCaprio spoke out against Climate Change deniers in his Oscars acceptance speech for The Revenant, Mark Ruffalo led a series of “Toxic Tours” that denounced pollution in L.A., Katy Perry partnered with UNICEF to film an informational video on Climate Change, and even the Nation Park Service’s Works Progress Administration posters have been reimagined in the context of a world with wacky weather.

alt-J’s latest album, Relaxer, contains yet another example of artists exacting their political commentary onto art: as Tirhakah Love notes in his review of the album for MTV News, “the thematic focus on Climate Change and the erosion of the English coast…” is “a metaphor for the follies of man’s destructive impulses, despite pervading evidence that the action (whether LOVE or economic entropy) is a bad idea.”

The album’s lead single “3WW” begins innocently enough– “There was a wayward lad/ Stepped out one morning / The ground to be his bed/ The sky his awning”– before continuing on to a less idyllic metaphor for both love’s erosion and the blatant effects of sea level rise: “The road erodes at five feet per year/ Along England’s east coastline.” (Scroll to 1:33 in the video above for the song to start.)

Throughout Relaxer, there’s a sense of inevitable demise that seems to have classified most early art of the Trumpian Era so far, as science and politics continue to commingle to disheartening effect. alt-J’s latest album is yet another reminder that in matters of love, much like the impending climate crisis, what we aspire to doesn’t always match up with reality, and that can be a bitter pill to swallow.

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