“I cried to the trap beat of the original version because the lyrics are so devastating,” Charli Adams writes to EARMILK about covering The 1975’s song “I Like America & America Likes Me.” In the week leading to the American Presidential election, her lyric video sheds light on the current protests and unrest, encouraging viewers to vote while they can.
Adams' debut LP Bullseye is slated for release early 2021, and she's quickly gaining traction in the indie-pop world, most recently with her rhythmic single “Didn’t Make It.” But right now, Adams’ focus is on the election. Many artists are using their platforms to push young people to vote. It’s an outpouring of outspokenness of the likes which the world has never seen. Companies, publications, and artists who in previous years remained silent, are publicly endorsing candidates in an effort to enact change.
“I wanted to cover “I like America & America Likes Me” in a way that matches the emotions I felt when I heard it for the first time,” the Nashville-based singer writes. The cover is a beautifully melancholy take on the faster-paced original. Her lilting vocals and solemn tone bring a new life to the poignant lyrics. “I discovered The 1975 when I was a secret-emo-Tumblr-kid growing up in Alabama. In the south there’s this idea that if it doesn’t directly affect you, then it’s either irrelevant or not your business to speak up about it.”
The video shows her juxtaposed with footage and symbols of protests surrounding gun violence. “There should be no debate about the fact that America has a very serious mass shooting and gun problem. It only seems to be getting worse as our country divides further,” Adams says. “Seventeen year-old Kyle Rittenhouse should never have had access to the assault-style weapon that he used to shoot protesters and yet we are watching people shamelessly support him and even donate money to his cause.”
She sings I’m scared of dying/is that on fire? with resonating timbre against a lone guitar. “I do not experience the fear of being killed the way people of color do, but our society has become desensitized to violence and I’ve personally experienced that. Every Walmart that I went to as a kid sold guns and I was given one as a gift by a family member at 18.” Kids don’t want rifles/they want supreme refers to how it’s easier to purchase a gun than designer clothes.
Oftentimes, music speaks the loudest. With the countdown to change currently ticking, Adams is doing what she can to open up a dialogue and encourage people to go out and vote. “Something has to change and I encourage you all to really think of the ways you can help bring it about. It’s really inspiring and hopeful to see our younger generations fighting and standing up for what they believe in.”