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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Greta Thunberg's UN speech is now, as it was always meant to be, a death metal song

Illustration for article titled Greta Thunberg's UN speech is now, as it was always meant to be, a death metal song
Photo: Stephanie Keith (Getty Images)

Greta Thunberg’s United Nations Climate Action Summit speech last week may end up as one of the defining moments of our era. Furious and eloquent, the 16-year-old articulated the boiling frustrations of a generation fed up with the political inaction that continues to stall on the increasingly dire need for strong climate change policy. Her refrain of “How dare you?,” addressed to the world’s most powerful decision-makers, will resound for years to come as a call to action for ordinary people and a rebuke of the dismissals and half-measures that have led us to a time of such terrifying environmental precarity.


Now, in case you needed the speech’s confrontational words to be matched by equally aggressive music, John “Mollusk” Meredith has offered up “Greta Thunberg Sings Swedish Death Metal,” which, we’re pleased to report, is (subgenre quibbles aside) exactly what its title promises.

A distorted guitar squeals feedback and begins to chug an atonal riff as Thunberg’s asked to begin her speech: “My message is that we’ll be watching you,” she says, kicking off a musical frenzy. Thunberg’s words are goblin-pitched as she continues; the UN clip’s colors change; the drums pound—eventually a guitar solo starts, riding a sustained note before the assault begins again. The instrumental is fast, nasty, and demonic. Words like “People are suffering” and “People are dying” become even more threatening when growled. The whole thing rules.

Meredith, who plays drums and sings in New York City metal band Suaka, spoke to Rolling Stone’s Kory Grow about the track, explaining that he “was very impressed by [Thunberg’s] passion and outrage.”

He was so struck by how “the words she chose just evoked the darkness of the metal music I love” that Meredith wrote the track, re-recording part of the speech (the vocals are, alas, not Thunberg’s own) in order “to turn her brutal words into a metal song.”

Meredith clarifies that he isn’t “trying to make fun of [Thunberg],” despite the “element of satire and levity regarding the tone and the music.” And he’s aware that the track isn’t proper Swedish death metal, despite the video’s title: “It’s probably more ‘black metal’ maybe but the title is also a nod to her country of origin. It’s like that Viking fury can’t be denied.”

Thunberg, who has a much better sense of humor that the army of scumbags upset at the audacity of kids trying to avert global disaster, retweeted a link to the video, stating that she’s “moved on from this climate thing” and that “From now I will be doing death metal only!!”


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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.