Canadian musician Meg Remy, the bandleader and creative force behind the pop outfit U.S. Girls, has revealed that the inspiration for the final song on her upcoming album Bless This Mess came from an unexpected source: a breast pump.
When Remy returned home from the hospital after giving birth to twins, a friend had given her a breast pump. Initially unsure if she would use it, Remy decided to charge it up and try it out. It was the machine's singular, guttural pulse that caught her attention.
"The minute I heard it, I was like, what is this fucking sound?" says Remy. "I just knew we’re gonna do something with this”.
The song, titled "Pump", was the last one Remy made for the album, which was otherwise completed during her pregnancy in 2020 and 2021.
The verses of the song begin "as a straight-up reportage of my experience in the hospital" after giving birth, as she recounts a conversation with a night nurse, while the second half of the song distills the thoughts that ran through her head as she spent hours hooked to the pump.
"Bodies, birth, death, machines," she repeats in the song, pondering the riddle of human connectivity. "That would really be my only time alone, pumping milk multiple times a day," Remy says. "I’d sit and think, ‘What the fuck am I doing right now? Who made this machine? What did we do when we didn’t have these? Why does it seem that we all need machines to teach us how to do something we inherently kind of know how to do?’” While Remy was residing in Philadelphia in 2008, U.S.
Girls started as a low-fi, avant-garde basement project. She has gained recognition for her artistic fusion of rock, pop, funk, and soul that transforms well-known pasts into sparkling futures with beats that are as danceable as they are piercing.
On February 24th, the new album, Bless This Mess, is scheduled to release, via 4AD. The album's funk-forward style is considerably from the stripped-down, "playing the US Girls blues" guitar record Remy assumed she'd produce following her previous release, as seen by the track "So Typically Now," which was released last summer.
Instead, when the quarantine took hold, Remy discovered that she was drawn to MIDI instruments and all of their potential. The album will be a reflection of Remy's thoughts on James Brown, as she poured over old performance footage and latching onto the sincerity she saw.
"If I'm watching James Brown, he's Mr. Entertainment, Mr. Dynamite, but he's also completely gone. Completely unhinged, doing his thing,” she says.