Resonance of Resistance: Week 1
January 20: The Nightmare Begins
January 20, 2017
This Friday was different than the others. When I woke I realized it would be just a few hours until Donald would take the Oath of Office and become the 45th President of the United States. The thought alone rattled me and, later, brought on a migraine of epic proportions. I needed an outlet so I turned to music to find a song to help me express the emotions I was feeling. Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction is where I landed. Arguably the most pivotal protest song of the 1960’s, it was “a love song and written as a prayer because, to cure an ill you need to know what is sick.” “The song takes on racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history,” not unlike the time we are experiencing now. This day, for me, represented this nation teetering on the edge of destruction, and as the parallels continued to build between this song and our current reality, I wondered why so many people can’t see history repeating in the most maddening way. It’s a prayer, a plea for answers, and a most ominous warning.(Genius Lyrics)
To say inauguration day was painful is an understatement. I thought a second song might lift my spirits a bit as the day progressed. Andra Day’s Rise Up is essentially a song about relationships. Day tells us that Rise Up expresses the sentiment that we are all brothers and sisters — no one person is better than another and when one is struggling, we need to be there to help lift them up. On this day, she reminded me that, in the end, we’re going to be OK. We’ll fight together, support one another, and carry the load when one of our own is weak. No matter how much it hurts or how much we want to tune out or quit, all we need is hope because the fear we feel is a lie. We’re strong and we will rise above. We’ve done it before. We’ll do it again. We’ll rise up. Need a little more bump? Here’s the REMIX. (Genius Lyrics)
January 21, 2017
When I hear For What It’s Worth, the projector in my mind’s eye flashes images of the Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Vietnam War protests. I suppose it’s the historian in me — probably helped along by the fact that many non-fiction historical films and the historical fiction set in the 60s uses this track to tell the story of the time. It’s an anthem of resistance, urging the passive observer to pay attention because something profound is happening. As I set off to the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, there was no song more appropriate to call up for inspiration. Something big was, indeed, happening that day. Something historic. And I was a part of the movement. I couldn’t be more proud. (Genius Lyrics).
We rise. We rise . . .
I was floored when Alicia Keys took the stage at the Women’s March in D.C. I instantly knew what was coming: Girl On Fire.
Before she sang the chorus to this anthem for women everywhere, she chanted:
We are here! We’re on fire! Living in a world that’s on fire! Feet on the ground! Not backing down!”
It was an emotional, empowering moment and I call on this song for some inspiration today. It’s interpretation can be full of power or isolation, and both are very real, relevant feelings for women today. Nevertheless, the song reminds us: keep two feet on the ground — the world is on fire but you’re on top of it and, most importantly, never back down. (Genius Lyrics)
January 22, 2017
I can’t keep quiet; A one woman riot . . .
This day cannot pass without a nod to MILCK’s Quiet. In MILCK’s words:
As a survivor of anorexia, abuse, and depression, I can say that I have let the overwhelming pressures of filling media/society’s expectations of “how a woman should be” overwhelm and silence my inner voices — without even realizing I was doing it. Until… I just couldn’t breathe anymore. As I live more days on this planet now, I can say with full confidence that there are no standards or rules worth crushing our soul bones to fit into. Life gets better when we just… let it out.
Whether exorcising personal or political demons, it isn’t a mystery why this tune went viral — FAST! It still brings me to tears today as I write this post — I’m sure it will for some time to come.
This is the rendition of Quiet that was a part of the Women’s March in Washington D.C. was rehearsed online and prepared especially for this day. I feel it’s even more striking and beautiful than the original and worth the time to watch the live performance. The YouTube video is a partial video. Here is a link to the full video on Facebook. It was one of seven flashmobs which broke out during the Women’s March with this epic ballad and anthem of the day. The same week, Quiet was featured on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (LOVE Full Frontal and Samantha Bee!) . Here is the hilarious full segment or the performance alone. Learn a little more about the song here. Learn a little more about MILCK and the song here. Loving the beatboxer! (Genius Lyrics)
January 23, 2017
Green Day’s American Idiot is one of my personal favorites. An American Idiot can be defined as a member of the American public who buys into the lies the corrupt government and / or media establishment feeds them, effectively drinking the Kool- Aid that keeps them dull, dumb, and unaware of the realities of the world around them. While the original message of the song was intended for George W. Bush, it couldn’t be more relevant today, considering Donald’s preoccupation with the mainstream media, his accusations of bias and faulty reporting, the fake news inundating the American public 24/7 on every social medium, and our new administration’s public platform of #AlternativeFacts. This selection addresses immigration, the hysteria that develops around the threat of terrorism, and the mixed and maligned messages that are very meaningful, but not obvious — conveyed just under the surface. In a time when it’s truly difficult to distinguish fiction from reality, the possibility that confused messages are pushed as a strategy to direct and control ideas is important to recognize. After all, it seems like the world is upside down and backwards, yet not everyone notices. Gaslighting, anyone? Even more, in this piece, Armstrong addresses bias against the LGBTQ community and social justice activists in general, a redneck agenda — largely perceived as homophobic, racist, misogynist, backward, and foolhardy, and politicians who are not very invested in acting to remedy societal ills because action would not bring political or personal economic gain — they are essentially ignoring larger, structural problems while they rally their base with fear. This is definitely a new kind of tension, which makes this song a perfect fit! (Genius Lyrics)
January 24, 2017
A tribute to the Occupy Movement, Green Day’s 99 Revolutions begins with a rumble in the streets and a common call to arms. The song recognizes that the working people — the middle class — make up a majority in America, yet they have become an obsolete minority because politicians are deaf to their cries. Simultaneously, it calls out corporate loopholes and corruption leading to tax breaks, or perhaps evasion, for the wealthy. A play on the 99%, Armstrong is 99 % sure that something is very wrong in the world and encourages us to stand up for ourselves, for justice, and to surround ourselves with like-minded people. Together, we will make history. I see this happening today and I am encouraged. (Genius Lyrics)
January 25, 2017
Green Day’s Let Yourself Go is simply self-explanatory. The lyrics embody how I feel about Donald on most days. I know I’m not alone. Between the ill-conceived Tweets — written with improper grammar and a multitude of mis-spellings — and the audio of his voice or the cheesy, orange oversaturated vision of his face on my TV, I can find myself irate in a very short period of time. I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to a government official. This song captures the feeling beautifully. (Genius Lyrics)
January 26, 2017
Tracy Chapman’s Talkin Bout A Revolution is a longing for humanity, equality, and balance in a world far too often — OK, almost always — skewed in favor of the rich. It’s a cry from an oppressed people reaching for an American Dream that isn’t truly available for everyone. Although soft and sometimes sad, this song reminds us that revolution often grows out of a whisper from the people and that the oppressors had better run because the oppressed will rise up. (Genius Lyrics)
Do you have songs you rely on to help you survive Trump? What music resonates with you and moves you to action?
I’d love to hear about the music inspiring and sustaining you, the beats and lyrics motivating you to take action, and the sounds that give you solace and peace. Please comment and let me know what you’re listening to in the age of Trump.
ICYMI: Check out this introductory post to see the inspiration for this playlist.
At the bottom of the post, you will find an archive , one story for each week of the playlist.