Melissa Etheridge Releases 'Pulse,' Moving Tribute to Orlando Victims: 'Love Will Always Win'
While many celebrities have reacted to the shocking murder of 49 people at Orlando's gay nightclub Pulse with thoughts, prayers and love, Melissa Etheridge did what comes naturally to her: she wrote a song. The out rocker released "Pulse" on Wednesday, an urgent, emotional anthem with a simple, powerful message that seeks to find unity where some would look to divide: "I am human, I am love/ And my heart beats in my blood/ Love will always win, underneath the skin/ Everybody's got a pulse."
Commenting on an act that has been tagged as both terrorism and an attack on the LGBTQ community, Etheridge's song falls firmly in the tradition of such folk forebearers as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie by taking events ripped from the headlines and putting a universal, human face on them.
"Everybody’s got a pain inside/ Imaginary wounds they fight to hide/ How can I hate them, when everybody’s got a pulse?," Etheridge sings in her signature rasp on the song you can listen to on Rolling Stone. She told The Advocate that she penned the track while on tour because she was moved by both the tragedy and people's reaction to it.
"I found myself roaming around my apartment," she told the gay publication. "I knew that would make me feel better, and I just started writing... I get so moved by so many things, not just the sadness of tragedy. I also get moved by how we react. Unfortunately, it takes a hideous event like this, but sometimes it brings people together and moves others who might have been like, 'That gay thing is not anything I'm concerned about.' It moves them and they think, I have to stand on the side of love and peace."
At one point in the four-and-a-half minute track she appears to address the 29-year-old shooter, who also injured 53 during the hours-long spree on Sunday, asking, "Who you gonna hate now?/ When there's no one left but you?/ Who you gonna gun down?/ If you can't kill the truth that it's inside of us/ Inside our blood, inside our pulse."
After recording the song Etheridge said she found out that one of the women killed in the shooting, bouncer Kimberly Morris, was from Torrington, Connecticut, where the songwriter was slated to play on Wednesday night. At the show, she dedicated "Pulse" to Morris.
Etheridge will offer the song for sale soon, with proceeds going to Equality Florida.