The dinner party depicted in the new video for Ane Brun's "You Lit My Fire" is, perhaps, not how most of us imagine the feminist revolution looks. The clip, directed by Lisa James Larsson, is a mostly light-hearted affair filled with glamorous women and crystal chandeliers. But a revolutionary act it is — just as the song it accompanies is a feminist anthem, not what we might expect, but certainly what we need.
Brun is set to finally release her sixth studio album, When I'm Free, in the U.S., marking a next step in a career that's never stopped moving. Her earliest work was rooted in folk; 2011's It All Starts With One was orchestral and ambitious; now her latest is worldly, adventurous and gleeful. And she comes by that joy honestly: Brun says she wrote this album in response to a revelation she had while home recuperating from medical issues that forced her to drop out of a tour with Peter Gabriel. The way she tells it, she woke up one night flooded with the knowledge that fear was her barrier, and if she could let fear go, her body would rest and heal. Her radical new approach to living resulted in When I'm Free, a record deeply rooted in affirmation and self-acceptance.
"You Lit My Fire" is the pinnacle of that good will. Brun's lyrics are a paean to the women she credits with helping her understand life as she now knows it – women who strove and sacrificed so that their descendants could have the luxury of forgetting them. "They changed our game / I want to kiss the feet of all those women," sings Brun in her passionate, idiosyncratic voice in the song's opening lines, before returning to a refrain of "I will never ever forget" over soulful guitar, keyboard, and a choir. Of the profound humility and gratitude at work in this song and its video, Brun says:
I am a feminist, and I often find it very frustrating that this word can be so provoking. Feminism is the fight for equal rights for women. And as long as this has not been accomplished, feminism exists and it is necessary...
I wanted to write an homage to those who fought for the rights that we as women are enjoying today. The early women´s rights activists sacrificed everything, their lives, their families and their status in society to fight for basic human rights for women. I feel that they are often neglected or underestimated when we praise our heroes and heroines through history.
Typically, songs labeled "feminist" are louder than this one, or angrier, or more sarcastic. Those songs are vital, and there's all the room in the world for them. But there's also room for a song such as "You Lit My Fire," wherein the musician is audibly bursting with gratitude and love for her predecessors and the power she inherited from them.