2018 has been badly in need of an electrifying, don’t-fuck-with-me power ballad, and now we’ve got LA songstress Laura Jean Anderson here to bestow it upon us.
Her single “Silence Won’t Help Me Now,” whose video Noisey is pleased to premiere above, is less of the sleek Top 40 heartbreak ilk that’s defined great ballads in recent years, and instead returns to the synth-injected 80s ferocity served up by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Nicks, and Heart—that unapologetic slow burn, baby.
Hailing from Olympia, Washington, Anderson was raised in a strict Mormon household, “too punk for the Mormons and too Mormon for the punk kids,” she told NPR. She’s since cut her own path, honing a powerhouse voice she first began developing in church choir through classical vocal training at CalArts, busking and working odd jobs to make ends meet along the way.
“Silence Won’t Help Me Now” epitomizes Anderson’s relationship with music as her first outlet for rebellion, an at once deeply personal and broadly human declaration of defiance and vulnerability backed by simmering drums and reverb (“”You say shut it, I’ll speak loud / You say take it, I’ll rip it up proud / And I don’t regret it cause my heart’s all out / Silence won’t help me now”).
Anderson described penning the track as starting “with how frustrated I felt being told I can’t do what I want as a woman. Once the election happened that feeling of frustration heightened and I felt like my hope dwindled, like I’d never be heard or understood. So I finished the song as an anthem to speak up—a personal pep talk to stand up for the things I believe in.”
Its video is equally powerful, featuring a tight shot of Anderson surrounded by disembodied hands and faces grabbing her in various attempts to apply makeup, contort her face into a smile, hold her body back, and otherwise change her, as Anderson belts the song and tries to push through them.
“Making this music video was a crazy experience to intentionally put myself through the physical and emotional meaning of the song,” she tells Noisey. “It reminded me of why I wrote the song in the first place. The process of creating this video exposed me to the most real and true parts of myself.”
Watch the video premiere of Laura Jean Anderson’s “Silence Won’t Help Me Now” above.
Andrea Domanick is Noisey’s West Coast editor. Follow her on Twitter.