After the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub that left 49 dead and over 50 injured, people have tried to find a way to cope with the feelings that left them reeling from the senseless killing. Melissa Etheridge was equally heartbroken when she heard the news while on tour, and she told Rolling Stone that she had to write a song in response.
“I’m dealing with it the way I deal, which is, I wrote a song,” she said. “I just sat here, and I just started writing a song… That’s how I first started to cope because, as a singer songwriter, I feel very… I’ve done this before. I feel called to speak; to do what musicians do. We’ve been the town criers for hundreds of years. We’re mirrors of society. We want to try to make sense. We want to try to heal. We want to bring some meaning, some purpose. We also want to put it down forever in history. That’s how I’m coping.”
She went into the studio with producer Jerry Wonda on Monday and laid down this heartbreaking track. She said she titled the song “Pulse,” after the name of the club, because “there’s just something very poetic and very meaningful about the name… You just start thinking about your own pulse. It’s the way I’ve always felt about the gay movement, the gay issue. Here we are – people who are loving; we are fighting for who we want to love.”
The anthemic ballad begins with the lines: “Everybody’s got a pain inside/ Imaginary wounds they fight to hide/ How can I hate them, when everybody’s got a pulse?” and the refrain reinforces the need for unity in the face of hate as it repeats: “I am human; I am love/ And my heart beats with my blood/ Love will always win/ Underneath the skin, everybody’s got a pulse.”
Perhaps the most chilling moment comes in the stanza in which she seems to be addressing Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old man who killed and injured so many: “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.”