Super Union is an Oakland-based trio comprised of bassist/vocalist Meghan O’Neil Pennie, drummer Justin Renninger, and guitarist Kevin DeFranco formed in 2014 and soon released a self-titled EP. The incredible positive reception to their blend of post-hardcore and ‘90s-flavored noise pop (think Goo-era Sonic Youth) and the band’s killer live shows helped to land them a contract with Deathwish Records for their debut full-length, Auto.
“You Don’t Tell Me” is the Super Union’s first music video. Directed by Mike Manasewitsch, an LA-based director/editor who specializes in comedy shorts who has been friends with O’Neil Pennie since childhood, the video for was shot in Manasewitsch’s house and neighborhood as well as a couple of the band’s shows (where O’Neil Pennie’s set-up of an Ampeg SVT-VR with a ‘70s Ampeg cabinet, and the Fender Mustang bass she named “Shelly” make appearances).
The song was written in response to an incident in which O’Neil Pennie had to deal with a man speaking down to her. “As an isolated event it was a small thing, but when it’s something that happens a lot it doesn’t feel like a small thing. In a work setting an older man was basically trying to tell me about a product I was selling him, and trying to teach me some very basic nutrition information, in a way that you would tell a child, and I have a degree in nutrition,” she said.
Her irritation and frustration over the situation come through clearly in the song. “I think being underestimated is a terrible feeling, and it is something I experience as a woman, but I know people are ignored and belittled for a variety of other invalid reasons. It also has the potential to be dangerous when it carries over into women not being believed, or being ignored when they speak up about abuse,” she said.
The many television sets in the video contain candid clips of the band (including some that almost pass for surveillance videos, since the they seem “unaware” of being filmed) play off the concept of the “male gaze,” where women are depicted through men’s POV, as it relates to real life. “I do think it reflects the objectification of women,” says O’Neil Pennie. “My favorite line [in the song] is ‘pay attention and try to look cute’ because I feel like if a man is speaking down to a woman and trying to teach them something unsolicited, they’re expected to bat their eyelashes and thank him.”
“What I desire is to interact with someone as a fellow human being, as equals. We can hopefully learn from each other and not make assumptions.”
Check out our video premiere for “You Don’t Tell Me” below and purchase Auto when it comes out on October 14.