Australian songwriter Merpire exploded into our consciousness back in March with “Dinosaur”, and returns today with news of her debut album: it’s called Simulation Ride and coems out on July 23 through Warner’s ADA imprint. She’s also shared a new song called “Village”, which comes with quite an interesting backstory to the central idea and metaphor, which Merpire explains:
“I used to have a day job punting people around the lake on a boat in the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra, giving them a guided tour of the lake. There’s one island we pass on the route we nickname ‘Bell Bird Island’ because the bell birds pretty much own it, very territorial. They’re basically farming an insect called a psyllid and protecting it from other birds eating it. They have a symbiotic relationship. The psyllid produces a sugary coating like a cocoon and the bellbirds lick this sweet treat, not eating the whole insect so that the psyllids keep producing the sugar.
“This loosely inspired the idea of it taking a village to nurture someone. Sometimes I would get so caught up in self doubt, seeing qualities in people that I didn’t think I had, that I forgot to see what qualities I had that they might love me for. I constantly put pressure on myself to be happier, more energetic, more sociable. I didn’t see myself as an interesting person without that or without my music and when I was feeling tired or withdrawn I’d beat myself up about it, not feeling worthy of company and thinking I was just a boring person who happened to be a musician (and punt people around on a boat in the gardens apparently?!). This affected my relationship. I didn’t believe someone could be in love with me when there seemed to be way more interesting people out there.”
These intriguing details illuminate the quietly simmering verses of “Village”, where she confesses “you are a living sugar refinery / I am a species, addicted” as a way of explaining her undying attraction to someone she deems herself not worthy of. Her self-loathing starts to curdle in the bridge, where a note of tension enters her voice as she admits “sometimes what you need / you might not get from me.” This self-doubting opening 90 seconds is a patient slow build to the cathartic chorus, where Merpire blows away all the negativity with the thunderous guitar riff and proclamation “it takes a village to love you”. Overall, “Village” is a song that shows Merpire’s ability to translate her vivid feelings through her own idiosyncratic lens and come out with something universally fist-pumping.
Watch the video for “Village” below or find the song on streaming platforms.