In this episode, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs breaks down “Water Fountain.” It’s a song that draws inspiration from the politics of drought and dancehall reggae, and you’ll hear how and why she tried to make this song less catchy.
Despite that effort, in 2014 the tUnE-yArDs album Nikki Nack climbed the Billboard Charts and got widespread critical praise.
MERRILL GARBUS: I just kind of let my brain wonder... what if no one ever paid taxes and what if no one decided that it was worth it to put money into our greater good. Seeing that through my imagination, you know, no roads, no sidewalks, no water fountains.
This piece was produced by Hrishikesh Hirway for his podcast Sound Exploder. Check out the other episodes on his website or click here to subscribe.