You Should Listen To Melissa Etheridge’s “Pulse,” Inspired By The Orlando Shooting

“Who you gonna gun down, if you can’t kill the truth,” Etheridge asks in a stirring tribute to the victims. This is what coping sounds like.

You Should Listen To Melissa Etheridge’s “Pulse,” Inspired By The Orlando Shooting
[Photo: Flickr user bobnjeff]

WHAT: “Pulse,” a new song inspired by last weekend’s horrific shooting in Orlando.

WHO: Melissa Etheridge, catchy folk-rock singer/songwriter and longtime LGBTQ activist.

WHY WE CARE: In the wake of a senseless tragedy, everybody has different ways of coping. Some point fingers. Others read the news obsessively until it starts to interfere with their jobs. And some take action. For Melissa Etheridge, in the case of this most recent tragedy, the only thing to do was make music. “I’m dealing with it the way I deal, which is, I wrote a song,” she told Rolling Stone. “That’s how I first started to cope because, as a singer songwriter, I feel very … I’ve done this before. I feel called to speak; to do what musicians do. We’ve been the town criers for hundreds of years. We’re mirrors of society. We want to try to make sense. We want to try to heal. We want to bring some meaning, some purpose. We also want to put it down forever in history. That’s how I’m coping.” The resulting song, “Pulse,” named after the gay nightclub that served as site for the deadliest mass shooting in history, is a rousing tribute to the victims. The acoustic guitar and violin-laced anthem is a call for acceptance, unity, and humanity, and a reminder that “Everybody’s got a pulse.” Etheridge wrote and recorded it within 48 hours after the shooting, and she says all proceeds will go to an LGBT charity.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.