The latest track from Clare Means’ forthcoming album, Sidewalk Astronomy, begins with the eerie drone of news reports that are all-too-common in today’s landscape. “‘Hollywood Zoo’ is about the misogyny and warped power dynamic that thrives in the music and entertainment business. I’ve had experiences that were unsettling as have many women I know in the industry,” says Means.
As its opening fades out, Means’ smoky voice that has already become so well-regarded in her LA music scene takes over. Alongside the likes of persisting drums, guitar, and strings, she envelopes listeners in a searing narrative reflective of her and others’ experiences in a business that still empowers acts of sexism and misogyny. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, “Hollywood Zoo” does its work in continuing to shine a light on the darker corners of entertainment industries. It’s unfortunate that such themes will continue to be relevant for what almost certainly will be a long time to come. Although, as empowerment takes a front seat and continues to seize the narrative from the entitled, songwriters like Means speaking out through their art makes all of the difference.
Paired with its relentlessly persistent arrangement, the song’s message will remain with listeners for a long time coming. Sidewalk Astronomy releases on 27 April, with an album release show being held the following day at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles.