Seattle Band to Release Pop Song Inspired by Hanford Tank Waste
The Hanford Nuclear Reservation has inspired documentaries, museum exhibits, art shows, and even a book of poetry.
Now, a Seattle band call Tangerine is about to release a new song that tackles the leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the federal site.
“I guess it’s a slightly unusual topic for a pop song, especially one that has a romantic angle,” said Marika Justad, who sings, plays the guitar and the piano for the alternative-pop band.
“I read a headline that said Gov. Inslee believes there is no imminent danger to the groundwater of Washington state. And I was like, ‘What is the danger in general?’ So I read more about it, and I realized there were some tanks leaking at the Hanford nuclear site, which I found pretty scary,” said Justad.
The news hit home for the singer, who, growing up, had spent a lot of time near the Columbia River. So she decided to add it to her music, in a song titled "Hanford Riviera."
“I was already writing a song that I thought was sort of boring. It was kind of a by-the-books romantic song, and I wanted to add an environmental angle. But I didn’t want to hit people over the head with it, especially since I’m not really an expert in any way.
“So I decided to write a song a little tongue-in-cheek about a romance taking place on a Riviera, ‘Hanford Riviera’ that’s been tainted by nuclear waste. And sort of incorporate the paranoia, impending doom that would come from that situation,” she said.
For Justad, the song represents a state of mind, one she thinks many her age may share.
“Which is, I think, we all know that something totally not cool is going on with the environment in general—global warming, nuclear contamination, you know, floating islands of trash, but most people don’t know where to begin to address those issues. And so it just floats in the background an underlying sense of uneasiness. And that’s what the song is really trying to capture,” she said.
Tangerine will release “Hanford Riviera” on Swoon Records at the end of the month.