Pussy Riot ‘Can’t Breathe,’ in English

Russian protest punks Pussy Riot are better known for their politics than their music. However, with their first English-language song and video, that may be about to change.

In a release, Nadya and Masha of Pussy Riot say that “I Can’t Breathe” is “dedicated to those who can no longer breathe. To Eric Garner and to all who suffer from state terror … to political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change.” The two participated in protests and wrote the song because “we’ve known, on our own skin, what police brutality feels like.”

“I Can’t Breathe” is a departure from their usual quick n’ crude frenzy. It’s a dark, neo-industrial, slightly gothic song that grows more chilling as it unfolds. The same goes for the video, in which Nadya and Masha are buried alive. (For real. In one take.) Musicians from Russian bands Jack Wood and Scofferlane contribute vocals, while Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs plays piano and bass. Punk icon Richard Hell completes the song with a harrowing reading of Garner’s last words as he begged the police to “leave me alone.”

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