didi – “Muerde”

Columbus indie-rockers didi have a new album called Like Memory Foam dropping on Black Friday, and we were big fans of its lead single “Haru.” Today they’re back with another advance track showing off a different side of the band.

“Muerde” is one of two songs on the album sung in Spanish. Kevin Bilapka-Arbelaez handles lead vocals on this one, which tackles the death of the “American Dream.” One key lyric, “Una araña en la sombra me araña el hombro mientras duermo, y me envenena el sueño,” translates to “A spider in the darkness bites me as I sleep and poisons my dream.” The musical backdrop is as tumultuous and ever-shifting as the cultural environment he’s bemoaning. And as Bilapka-Arbelaez unpacks at The Grey Estates, the meaning of the song itself has transformed a bit too:

“Muerde” is tied to an idea I found fascinating from Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands. The way the book is structured is decidedly bilingual. To read the book with a Spanish to English dictionary would be exhausting, and clearly beside the point. Borderlands showed me that there can be works that aren’t meant to be translated, because they aren’t meant for every person. Some works are meant to be fully unlocked and understood only by those who already have an intimate relationship with the languages used within. I wanted to include a song that is mostly in Spanish on this album in order to honor this idea.

I’ve actually been rethinking the meaning of the lyrics for this one. Initially I thought it had to do with complacency. The way we fool ourselves into thinking that everything is fine, when really the house is burning down — if not our own, then our neighbor’s. It’s about waking up, facing reality and doing something to the extent that you can about the awful things happening in your community.

A lot has happened since I’ve written this song though, and the meaning is starting to morph into something else. Now, It’s about ICE and the increasingly hostile climate in the US for immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, and how that can influence someone’s ability to think positively about themselves and their future. It’s about the near impossible task of rising above that to be successful in whatever way you can. I like when songs grow into themselves after we’ve been playing them for a while, and this song definitely feels more like an anthem now.

Listen below.

Like Memory Foam is out 11/23 Damnably. Pre-order it here.

Tags: didi