In late high school and early college, I listened to a lot of Ellen Allien
Specifically, I was very into her 2003, now classic album Berlinette. The album is a collection of pre-minimal Berlin techno dedicated to an aggressive yet caring lifestyle. Songs like “Push” suggest the tension of being a young person in the city while “Trash Scapes” sketches the past as a gross territory to escape: she catches something in the young adult psyche here that seems so timeless yet, clearly, is a capturing of early aughts thinking.
I recently revisited the album and was struck by this now-and-thenness of Berlinette but one song was so striking: “Wish.” The record‘s closer, the song attempts to untangle the woes of the world by guitar licked industrial slanted techno. “Need a planet without cars and wars,” she says at one point. “No wars. No cars. No wars, no cars.” She eventually looks off into the distance, resolving that this is impossible with the statement, “I wish it could be true.” Of course that’s the irony: things like war and cars (i.e., environmental destruction) are a sort of drug to keep the war going until earth cracks in half.
In 2003, I liked the song because it sounded cool. Fifteen years later, it seems so ahead of its time in many ways but, primarily, it was a political call to action via dance music that is still being sung about today. It casts her entire album as political commentary that my young mind missed. Today? It’s all I can hear.
Listen to the song below and, hopefully, it motivates you to do your part to create this wish of a world. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I wish it could be true.