It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of pasta. It’s one of the simplest dishes to make. It’s easy, fast, cheap, and delicious. But it’s also no secret that I’m not a big fan of capitalism. It exploits the most vulnerable and destroys our planet. With “Spaghetti on Repeat” I tried to talk about both at the same time. I like to play with opposites.
The song tells the story of a young single mother caught between the dream of social ascent and financial battles to provide for her kids. For years, she has worked hard hoping to eventually climb the social ladder. But now, she has become tired and resigned. She cooks pasta on repeat because it’s the only thing she can afford, and it doesn’t take up too much time. The “work hard, play hard” dream that she once believed in, has been abandoned after years of fruitless labour. Social upward mobility is reserved for the privileged few, yet it is still held as a higher standard of our work ethics.
Social upward mobility is the economical concept of working to rise above the socio-economic status you were born into. For most people, class affiliation strongly depends on the economic circumstances they are born into, which is fortunate for the wealthy and dooming to the poor. When speaking of this ladder, the main factors are access to healthcare, education, and technology as well as working conditions and social security. Even if all those things are for the most part largely available in Central Europe, it is wrong to believe that climbing the ladder is easy or accessible to everyone. If we take my home country Luxembourg - one of the richest countries in the world - as an example, all the factors mentioned above are provided by the state. But a 2018 PISA study shows that Luxemburg is amongst the countries with the highest disadvantages for students from low-income families. Disadvantaged students have a less than a one-in-eight chance of attending the same schools as the more privileged ones.
Education has proven itself to be the most reliable predictor for a child’s future success. This directly translates to a lower chance of social upward mobility. Meaning that children from lower income and low-educated families face more challenges in their school career. Less wealth statistically translates to fewer educational resources at home. Higher educated families can provide a more stimulating home environment to promote their children’s cognitive development. Public schools should be able to balance out these discrepancies, but as the 2018 PISA study proves, that is often not the case.
What we can conclude from that: Climbing the social ladder is often way harder than it appears. Therefore, we need to protect the most vulnerable from the crushing burden our capitalist society puts on them.
I had written the lyrics for "Spaghetti on Repeat" a while ago, but never found the right moment to transform them into a song. It was when I got together with my producer Sasha (Them Lights) that I decided to put the words into a song. I wanted the song to have an angry atmosphere to reflect the anger I feel when thinking about this topic. It’s a song packed with sharp synths and distorted vocals. Musically I was inspired by artists like Rina Sawayama or SOPHIE and I see this song as a further step into my musical journey and development.
The music video is mostly unrelated to the song. I wanted to detach both elements to shed two different lights on the song. I worked with Pit Reding, a friend and talented visual artist on this project. We chose to film the entire video with my grandfather’s VHS camera. The tone we set for the visual aspect of the song was upbeat but unsettling at the same time. The video portrays a seemingly harmonious environment but gets progressively more unsettling as it ends in myself enjoying an abundant meal. That way we tried to illustrate the duality of the song itself: stuck between hope and reality. The video complements the song and features my own mother as cashier which mirrors the dynamics between mothers and their children mentioned in the song itself. Visually and atmospherically, I was strongly influenced by Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” for this video. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, “Midsommar” is a perfectly beautiful horror movie about a brutal cult, set during the heights of summer in beautiful Swedish scenery.)
Enjoy your pasta