Pussy Riot Toxic, The Taste of a Poison Paradise

Nadya Tolokonnikova from Pussy Riot and Dorian Electra

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova has shared “TOXIC,” a new collaborative single with Dorian Electra. The track, produced by 100 gecs’ Dylan Brady, arrives with a hyperactive, extremely digital, and often bloody visual.

In a statement, Tolokonnikova noted that this year is the 10th anniversary of Pussy Riot creating political music and art. “‘TOXIC’ is political, because personal is political,” she said. “The single reflects on the importance of self-care, cherishing your mental health and staying away from relationships that poison you.” She continued:

A few years ago I went through an emotionally abusive relationship (that ended up being physically abusive, too—I was being held against my will in a house we lived in). The best way to process trauma for me is via creating art, that’s why we wrote TOXIC with Dorian and Dylan. Besides music, I use other tools to convince others to put their mental health first, train themselves to recognize emotional violence and leave abusive relationships.

“I’m so honored to be featured on this track,” Dorian Electra said in a statement. “Nadya is one of my all-time favorite people, friends and collaborators and I’ve always been so inspired by Pussy Riot’s blending of activism and art. This song came together so quickly with Nadya and Dylan in the studio — we knew we had to make something both hella abrasive and cute at the same time.”

Written, directed, and edited by Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, the music video features jarring, bloody imagery matching Brady’s production. “Care about yourself, cherish your mental health, and stay away from relationships that poison you!” Tolokonnikova writes in the YouTube description. “Amen.”

In the song’s lyrics, Tolokonnikova speaks of her ex, “You are my daily poison so annoying”. “You’re even more toxic than my employer.” The hook continues the theme. “This combo is deadly — ’cause we used to be friendly,” Electra laments. “And now my heart is a weapon / You made me… toxic.”

A tweet promoting “Toxic” includes a reference to the #FreeBritney movement against the conservatorship of Britney Spears under her father. Spears of course also had major hit with a song called “Toxic” in 2004.

Earlier this month, Pussy Riot released a video for “Rage”, which called for the immediate release of recently poisoned and imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as Pussy Riot bandmate Masha Alekhina, who is under house arrest for pro-protest social media posts and participating in recent Moscow protests.

Meanwhile, Electra made a recent appearance on Rebecca Black’s “Friday” hyperpop remix, released in celebration of the viral song’s 10-year anniversary. Over the past year, Brady has made a name for himself outside of 100 gecs, producing songs for Charli XCX and Rico Nasty, as well as the aforementioned “Friday” remix.

In January, multiple members of the Pussy Riot collective were arrested in Russia after protesting for the release of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. A few days later, the ensemble released a video for the new song “RAGE,” which had been scuttled in production last year after being deemed “gay propaganda” by Russian authorities last year.

Last summer, the band released the new songs “Riot” and “1312,” and Tolokonnikova penned an op-ed for The New York Times supporting Navalny. Peter Verzilov, another associate of the group, was arrested twice in 2020.

 

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