Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Now more than ever, we need an anthem for staying true to ourselves — and that's exactly why Evan Rachel Wood and Zach Villa wrote "Today." The two musicians formed the band Rebel and a Basketcase back in 2016, and have since built an entire album around the idea of breaking free from oppression and owning who you are. The music video for "Today" — co-directed by Wood and Villa with HLG studios and debuting exclusively on Refinery29 — illustrates this feeling perfectly, keeping things playful while also totally relatable.
"It feels very nostalgic to me because it reminds me of the videos that I grew up watching on MTV," Evan Rachel Wood told us about the project, which shows the tension between a teacher and student as the teacher tries to silence her creativity. "I love the idea of the authoritarian figure and the teenagers, who, in my opinion, are sometimes smarter than adults, and I really wanted to speak to that."
Wood herself plays the cranky teacher, and the teenage protagonist is actually the younger sister of a lifelong friend. The two go head-to-head in the classroom as the teenager fights to express herself in a society where she's being told to stay quiet and fit in.
"We talk a lot about freedom and coming into your own and sort of giving away what’s holding you back and kind of escaping the oppression," Villa added.
Finding yourself as a teenager is a struggle both creators definitely faced growing up, and they hope this song can be the mantra they never had.
"This is the fantasy I’ve always had in my head when I was stuck in one of those situations when you just want to break free and go to a place where you feel at home and I think that’s what we kind of try to do in our shows, is kind of open the door for people to be themselves and let their hair down and have fun," Wood explained.
While the story comes from past experiences, both members of the band feel that it couldn't be more appropriate today. With so much political tension in the air, and with the rights of the marginalized seemingly always under attack, this is no time to stay quiet.
"We also were excited about the fact that we could write a song that was the anthem that was acknowledging the oppression but also giving people hope to overcome," Wood said. "I think that’s what we need right now."
Put simply, Villa says the song makes "a case for owning the best part of ourselves." Whether it's in the audience at one of their shows or alone in a moment of insecurity, Rebel and a Basketcase want listeners to know it's always okay to be exactly who they are.