R.Y.F. – “Everything Burns”

R.Y.F. – “Everything Burns”
  • R.Y.F.
  • "Everything Burns"
  • Bronson Recordings
  • 10 September 2021

R.Y.F. announces new dark dance-punk album Everything Burns, out on September 10th, 2021 for Bronson Recordings; listen to the singles Cassandra (with video feat. Silvia Calderoni), Normal Is Boring (feat. So Beast), Not Going Anywhere and Don’t Panic

Francesca Morello, aka R.Y.F., announces her new album Everything Burns, out on CD, vinyl and all digital platforms on September 10th, 2021 for Bronson Recordings, led by the singles Cassandra, Normal Is BoringNot Going Anywhere and Don’t Panic.

Thematically, R.Y.F’s Everything Burns is a radical confluence of rage and joy; sonically, it is a pressure-cooked combo of dance and punk. The fourth album from the solo project of Italy’s Francesca Morello, Everything Burns refuses to be confined by genre or emotional extremes, and is instead the synchronistic coexistence of opposites. It is music you could dance or destroy a room to, a cathartic balance of suffering and jubilation—an electropunk disco steeped in queer, feminist subversion.

This album is for people who feel uncomfortable because of what they are—because other people tell them they are wrong,” says Morello. Queer and nonbinary and speaking directly to an audience of the marginalized, Morello combines “fiction and reality” to imbue individual feeling into mythological battles, inviting listeners to see themselves in an ever-important and painful human struggle for survival and acceptance. “I want people to know you are never alone, even if you feel that way sometimes. Know you are part of a big family.

Everything Burns electrifies R.Y.F.’s anti-patriarchal position with unrelenting support for the underclass and a defiant hope in the future the people can build together. Pain is weaponized, and vulnerability is redefined not as a weakness, but a threat to the ruling class. The result is an explosive testament to the power of community and unguarded artistic expression. “Everybody has a role to play,” says Morello, “My message is my voice.”

Everything Burns is R.Y.F.’s first foray into electronic music, and an homage to a period of explosive creativity and inspiration. With the pandemic forcing musicians off the road, Morello found herself at home working less with a guitar and more with synthesizers and drum machines, instruments she had long admired in avant-garde bands like Moor Mother and Special Interest.

Frustrated by the government’s lack of support for artists and seeking a creative community, Morello auditioned at the internationally-acclaimed theater company Motus (MDLSX, Panorama, NELLA TEMPESTA), and began writing songs to pitch the group’s new production Tutto Brucia, based on Jean Paul Sartre’s adaptation of the Greek tragedy The Trojan Women. At the same time, Morello’s label, Bronson Recordings, called to ask if she was working on an album. “I said no, but I am working on this other thing,” says Morello.

Morello advanced in the theater and began work on the album she would name after the english translation of the play, Tutto Brucia (“Everything Burns”). She wrote every note and lyric in two weeks and completed the recordings with Andrea Cola (Sunday Morning) and under the supervision of multi instrumentalist and musician Bruno Dorella (Ronin, OvO, Bachi da Pietra) in two weeks more. Mix and master of the record were then realized by Maurizio Baggio (The Soft Moon, Boy Harsher)It was really fast and really special. For the first time in 20 years, I finally felt free to let everything inside me come out,” says Morello, “There was no plan. It was like a work of inspiration that was burning inside of me.

First single Cassandra, originally written for the play, is both dark and disco, a party song evocative of Morello’s new wave, post-punk influences like New Order and Le Tigre. “I like the song not because of the tragedy, but because I think that women need to raise their heads and be proud of themselves,” says Morello, “We need to be a little bit crazy and out of control sometimes. It’s time to take the powers back.” Over pulsating disco beats and plucking synths, R.Y.F. urges, “women raise your head / be proud of yourselves / DANCE!!! / with the flame / much faster / with the flame / look at the sky.” R.Y.F. and Motus continued their collaboration offstage for the music video Cassandra, directed by Motus and starring Tutto Brucia actress Silvia Calderoni. (Calderoni has also starred in Sky TV series Romulus, Gucci’s latest series Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended, and Jonathan Nossiter’s “Last Words”).

The combustion slows down with Muzik‘s minimalism, an experimental ode to the saving communicative power of music, always at the center of R.Y.F.’s thoughts. On the somber slow-burn Pocket Full of Ashes, another song written for the play, synths sparkle around a brooding guitar line that builds R.Y.F.’s haunting vocals up to the cathartic refrain, “my pocket full of ashes, my pocket full of tears, my pocket full of fear, my pocket full of me.”

Morello’s lyricism balances poetic observations with explicit and shocking commentary on sexism and gender. The title-track Everything Burns, a playful yet powerful send-up of discrimination, sees R.Y.F. mockingly deliver sexist and fatphobic insults (“are you a boy or a girl? / cuntboy,  dickgirl”) on every line except the last, when R.Y.F. declares, “and everything  burns.”

Sometimes I really would like to burn a lot of things, bad things that are in this world, this society. Patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, racism—burn all discriminations,” says Morello, “I believe all discriminations start with the patriarchy, and I would like to burn them all down for the people to be happier—and freer.

R.Y.F. describes female suffering under the patriarchy that must burn on the grunge-tinged track My Sis. “My sister, she wants to die… she wanna die like Kurt Cobain,” R.Y.F. croons in a voice similar to Cobain himself. “Being a woman, a girl, in this society is super difficult,” says Morello, “To be nice, to be cute, to say yes, to smile, all this stuff—it will drive you crazy because you can’t be like that. No one can.” 

R.Y.F. continues her celebration of the marginalized with the electro-experimental banger and transfeminist anthem, Don’t Panic — an encouraging tribute to the strength and difficulty of coming out, chosen as brand new single with a video directed by Simona Diacci Trinity. The line “YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TAKEN BY ALIENS” — repeated to the effect of a strobe-lit hypnosis or post-punk affirmation—alludes to Morello’s experiences growing up non-binary. “I felt like an alien,” she says, “It was traumatic. I wasn’t happy for a long time.” When Morello finally left her small hometown at age 30, she felt like her “mind was cleansed” of the lies she was told, opening herself up to better understand and embrace herself. R.Y.F states: “Don’t Panic describes what you feel when the coming out seems impossible when you feel trapped and powerless. Hey!!! You’ve not been taken by aliens!!! It is all fine!!! That’s my message to support my big queer family out there”.

Sometimes my hair is short, people think I am a man. Long hair, they think I am a woman. It is funny how people only look to the surface, they don’t look deeper. I like to confuse people,” Morello says. “I have a tattoo with this line, ‘normal is boring,’ because I think that there is nothing ‘normal’.” R.Y.F. amplifies that message on the aptly titled art-punk single Normal Is Boringan upbeat mix of post-industrial rhythms and powerful vocals that sporadically glitch and distort.

R.Y.F.’s outlook remains festive throughout Everything Burns, and is especially so on the electropop single Not Going Anywhere, a universal love song beyond the stereotypes of the couple relationship and a standout example of the record’s effusive energy. Not Going Anywherevideo was shot by Simona Diacci Trinity. Only lovers left alive.

Try to destroy it,” Morello says to everyone suffering under patriarchy. And with Everything Burns, R.Y.F. has written the soundtrack to dance to while you’re at it.