Evan Greer – Spotify Is Surveillance / Get Better Records (2021)

I’ll freely admit to not knowing anything about punk singer-songwriter and LGBT+/Digital rights activist Evan Greer, when receiving a Bandcamp email from Get Better Records about her new EP, Spotify Is Surveillance.

That changed pretty quickly after giving Spotify Is Surveillance an electronic spin, however. 

I was immediately sucked into a phenomenal landscape of music, activism, anger, frustration, love and so much more.

Basically, Spotify Is Surveillance is a collection of equal parts fighting songs and love songs, showing a wide variety and scope both with regards to songwriting and lyrical content.

Whether Greer musically evokes the playfulness of Hüsker Dü, the fun pop-punk of NOFX, the sheer intensity of riot grrrl or something else altogether, what really stands out are her passionate and invigorating lyrics, that end up as a living testament to the love and resistance that in the end makes this world even bearable in the face of the immense struggle ahead.

Not that the music is in any way just a tacked on side-thought. It is simply very well-fitted to the subject-matter and as such becomes an integral part of the narrative of each song.

And these subjects, all from the very frontlines of experienced fight and life, are in a sense each necessary to understand life, where we are and how we got there.  From the nostalgic sense of belonging extracted from belonging to a music-scene of Back Row, through a pointed critique of algorithmic capitalism on Surveillance Capitalism to a description of a bitter-sweet breakup in Taking Down The Tent, Greer seems able to set up a pretty interconnected world-view in just a few songs. 

It is in these interconnections the songs really shine. The fact that they, as songs, are collected together on this EP does make them part of a bigger whole, a glimpse of a vision; a vision of a better world, and a recognition of the factors that makes it of such importance to fight for that better world.

As an example, when she follows the blistering Emma Goldman Would Have Beat Your Ass – with it’s caustic message of “Your half baked liberal politics are trash / Emma Goldman would have beat your ass” – with the pandemic-inspired song of love and despair Willing To Wait, where she sings in the chorus “I’m willing to wait / no matter how long it takes”, these 2 sides of her music (as well as of life itself), seem to blend perfectly together and attain a balance that could help move things to the next level… 

our love is encrypted
messages disappear
photos and texts
longing and fear

when this is all over
i will throw a huge show
and i will invite you
and i hope you will go

and we will make love
for nights upon days
we'll make up for lost time
in so many ways

(From Willing To Wait)

That patience in combination with the urgency displayed elsewhere, could be used to finally achieve real change, which in turn would be equally beneficial for our personal relationships, not just torn apart by the pandemic, but often also by the structures of power in society as well.

I could of course drone on highlighting different aspect of her songs, like her laying bare the ugliness of transphobic feminists in The Tyranny Of Either/Or, or how good her punk rock cover of John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery feels, but in the end, like life itself, Evan Greer is best enjoyed by simply diving in and experiencing.

you weaponize biology
twist science into bigotry
anything to justify

your projected insecurities
become policies of purity
you debate about our right to be alive

when we defend ourselves you call it an attack
why can’t you see our liberation’s intertwined?

(From The Tyranny Of Either/Or)

Evan Greer has been a mainstay in my ears ever since that first virtual spin – and she will definitely stay there for as long as it takes to bring down the machine of capitalism we have all been shackled to. (And I decidedly also recommend her fabulous album she/her/they/them from 2019)

Dive in there, and I bet you’ll stay too.

Trans rights now!

Spotify Is Surveillance is out now on Get Better Records

The EP (with exception of Punk Rock Angel From Montgomery) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

If you’re interested in learning more about Evan Greer’s activism, this interview with the EFF is an excellent starting point. Or check out her own page here.

Evan Greer Online Discography

2009Never SurrenderAlbum
2015Break The Chains - Europe Tour BenefitEP
2020Papa Was A Rodeosingle
2021Spotify Is SurveillanceEP