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Track of the Week: ‘Cheerleader’ by Liza Anne

If you weren’t previously familiar with Liza Anne’s name, the first 10 seconds of their new music video spell it out for you — literally, letter by letter on the backsides of flirty high school cheerleaders. It’s an aptly bold reintroduction for the artist’s first real statement since coming out as gay and nonbinary, and following their big move from Nashville to New York.

Titled ‘Cheerleader,’ the release sees Anne redefine themselves with a queer anthem and accompanying visual to reclaim nostalgic environments that often leave out LGBTQ+ people. “With ‘Cheerleader,’ it was important for me to create a space of healing in a physical place where before, I wasn’t fully free,” Anne tells PAPER. “To return to an actual high school gymnasium with a queer cast feeling euphoric and fully celebrated felt so important — we were all physically in a place that smelled like being bullied and reminded me of stuffing who I was so far down I could hardly reach them. To return joyful and fully ourselves was powerful.”

From bouncing through choreo with pom poms in-hand to making out passionately in the bleachers, the entire video is a power-pop run through every classic high school scenario — only in Anne’s world the misfits are centered and popular kids are all pushed to the side. This, for Anne and their castmates like co-star Eva Victor, “became a therapeutic catharsis” and led to a much “lighter feeling” after all was said and done. And this joy is palpable, with Anne repeating the sunny hook, “I’ll be your cheerleader,” amidst other satisfying “woo’s!” and a pitched down “chic electric!”

Beyond its treatment, directed by Jacq Justice, ‘Cheerleader’ positions Anne in an exciting space between the worlds of pop and punk, with a bright melody and larger-than-life horns all dancing on the funky foundation of more alternative rock instrumentation. Like the blind optimism of our teenage years with a full life of unknowns ahead, Anne successfully creates a renewed sense of happiness from the subject-matter to the actual sound of their new single. “Being gay is a fucking miracle and I feel so surrounded by love and support right now, it’s almost overwhelming,” Anne continues. “Queerness is so beautiful, I feel like I am home. I am so happy to be here.” [via PAPER]

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