I Give You Power
by Arcade Fire (featuring Mavis Staples)

Album: Single release only (2017)

Songfacts®:

  • This politically charged song was recorded at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2016 and made available to Tidal subscribers on the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration early the following year.
  • The lyrics are about power dynamics and the nature of freedom and though the president-elect's name isn't mentioned the timing of the tune's release makes it clear that is an anti-Trump song. Arcade Fire wrote on Twitter: "It's never been more important that we stick together & take care of each other."
  • The track features frontman Win Butler dueting with legendary gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples, who herself is a longtime civil rights activist. Speaking with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, Win Butler said:

    "Mavis Staples is one of my favorite people on Earth and I've been fortunate enough to sing with her a couple times, and we just have a really beautiful relationship with her as a band. We're just really honored to sing with her… There's a familial feeling, singing with her. We just wanted to try and put something in the world."
  • Win Butler explained to Zane Lowe about why Arcade Fire released the track one day ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration.

    "The song was made to come out now. That's one of the beautiful things about the times we're in - you can just put something out. It's the eve of the inauguration and I think it's easy to get sucked into sitting on the couch and checking your news feed and watching things on CNN, and we're just musicians and the only thing we really have to offer is our music.

    I talked to Mavis last night and she said, 'Now more than ever we have to come together and hold onto each other.' For us it's a feeling of solidarity - to not feel powerless and focus on what we can do as individuals and try to do our part."
  • All proceeds from the song go to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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