Some of my favorite things in the world include burritos, sad country ballads sung by grizzled old men with braids, and Karen O. So when Chipotle enlisted the help of both Willie Nelson and Karen O for their mission to raise awareness about the hardships faced by modern farming families (another topic that hits close to home for me), I wondered if they were trying to kill me.
Director David Altobelli’s short film "Abandoned" follows three young boys as they explore a deserted house in the country late one night. Karen O’s contribution is a sparse, spooky version of “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys," a tune originally recorded by Ed Bruce and famously covered by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (Nelson recorded a cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" for The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in August). The song provides a haunting soundtrack for a video that might break your heart a little.
In an age where industrialized agriculture yields increasingly disconcerting possibilities, it’s interesting to see a company as powerful as Chipotle taking a stand for small farms. On Halloween, Chipotle will offer $2 burritos to anyone who comes in wearing a costume inspired by family farms; proceeds will go toward The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation and FarmAid.
It’s also fascinating to watch Karen O’s wild ride as an ever-evolving force of rock and roll to be reckoned with. Her creative collaborations in the past few years have included the delightful 2009 Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack and recent “psycho-opera” Stop the Virgens, which Karen O described to Pitchfork as “a psychedelic ride laced with catharsis.” I hope that Karen O continues to lend her voice and vision to many a cool concept to come—for now, I’ll be playing this track on repeat whenever I need to spend some quiet alone time with some responsibly-farmed rice and beans. Rockamole.
[Karen O sings- or eats an invisible burrito?- via CoverMe.]