You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless.
It’s not the war but what’s behind it Lord, the fear of foul men is mere assignment And everythin’ that we’re denied by keepin’ the divide It’s not the wakin’, it’s the risin
Like many Americans I have woken up to news headlines that have both flabbergasted and frightened me. You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless. So when I heard “Nina Cried Power” off of Hozier’s newest album “Wasteland Baby!” I felt it captured perfectly that weariness. He sings “it’s not the wakin, its the risin”. When I hear those lines I interpret it as the heaviness that you feel when you wake to bad news. Opening my eyes was the easy part but getting up and dealing with the ways of the world now that’s a little harder.
The song is a protest song that honors other artist who were known for their protest songs. Songs like Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn”, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, and The Staples Singers’ “Freedom Highway.” These songs are as relevant as they were back in the Civil Rights Era as woman and people of color continue to be denied their rights. Staples Singer member Mavis Staples is even featured on the song providing that bridge to the past.
Art in it’s various mediums is a great way to broadcast political messages. Music is able to communicate to the world a powerful message in a three-four minute enjoyable package. Hozier isn’t American, he hails from Ireland but I appreciate his tribute to the protest singers before him in this highly contentious time in our country.
And I could cry power (power) Power (power) Power, Lord Nina cried power Billie cried power Mavis cried power
I’ve seen you, I know you, and I’m not going anywhere.
I’ll be honest with you I don’t know anything about Penny and Sparrow. I haven’t heard any of their other songs. I randomly came across “Duet” on my way home one afternoon and have not been able to forget it. It’s a simple love song with a few good voices over a slow melody. It’s simplicity is what pulled me in I believe. The lyrics aren’t heavy with metaphor or cool word play. It basically says this: I see what you’re going through, I know it’s a lot and I don’t always make it easier. But I’m here for you, and I’m not going anywhere.
Isn’t that what we all want? To be seen, to be known, and to know we’re not alone?
I bet your back can carry more than Just the weight of your button-down One by one, they’ll come undone When we get home
I’ve seen you carry family And all my insecurities One by one, they’ll come undone When we get home
Because I’ve seen you And I know you And I’m not going anywhere
Contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle is one of my favorite voices. She has the silky buttery tone that is a style all her own. To promote her latest “Look Up Child” Daigle did a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream it’s Over for Spotify and it has me in my feelings. The 80’s classic is a favorite of mine I was excited to hear Daigle sing it. I was not disappointed. The original has easily recognizable beginning chords and I was surprised when I didn’t hear them and instead heard some jazzy guitar. I loved Daigle’s rendition, I found myself gently swaying while I drove listening to it. I love it when a classic is re-imagined in a way that it’s not a carbon copy but honors the original.
Hey now, hey now Don’t dream it’s over Hey now, hey now When the world comes in They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won’t win
I couldn’t tell you what the artist meant when he wrote it but to me “Don’t Dream its Over” means don’t give up. The world is full of battles, but don’t let the circumstances win. Easier said then done for sure, but in the world of 80’s pop songs anything is possible 😉
For those who might not have heard of them, Gungor is contemporary Christian husband and wife duo. They’ve become increasingly political as of late with Trump’s presidency. They’re newest album “Archives” was released on March 1st and the track that has me in my feelings this week is track #18 “American Republican Jesus”. The track hold’s nothing back, the first verse pretty much lays it all out.
White Jesus, why is Your goodness so bad? Why are Your people so mad? Why do You need so many old white racists To gather Your cash? White Jesus, I know the Donald’s Your Man I know He carries Your plan To purge all the world of all the non-white people Lest they go cash
This administration has used Christianity and conservative values as a weapon against the masses. The song calls them out as what they are, “old white racists”. Because Gungor is a Christian band I was shocked that they would be vocal on this particular topic when some of their peers have stayed quiet or doubled down on their support of Trump. They’re risking alienating some of their listeners but maybe this song will wake them up.
White Jesus, oh how could You blame us For doubting Your heavenly Father Would burn us For doubting Your heavenly Father Would burn us White Jesus American Republic Jesus
Early last month Ariana Grande released her 5th album “Thank U, Next”. Although I am not an avid listener of Top 40 artists like Grande, there’s no denying the ponytail pop star is crazy talented.
There’s a few good bops on the album, the track that had me in my feelings is #5 “Fake Smile.” As an introvert who worked retail for a number of years and struggles with mental health issues, I’ve faked plenty of smiles in my life and was intrigued by the title alone. The song starts out with a sample from “After Laughter” by Wendy Rene. “After laughter comes tears,” sings Rene just as the R&B beat comes in.
Grande has been through a lot in recent years, the death of her ex Mac Miller, the public break up with Pete Davidson, and the most harrowing the terrorist attack that took place at her concert in Manchester in 2017. All of that is combined with the day to day issues of living your life in the public eye, which Grande sings about in the song.
Hear what they’re sayin’ on the TV, it’s crazy It’s gettin’ hard for them to shock me But every now and then, it’s shocking, don’t blame me I know it’s the life that I chose But baby, I’m grateful, I want you to know I’m happy for the love and all of the above If I’m being honest, I done been through way too much
As a regular person I can’t relate to the pressure of celebrity, I relate to the song in a different way. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression my entire life. And I’ve felt like I couldn’t tell anyone because of my own shame and embarrassment. I always felt it was better to pretend all was well then risk letting people know what I was dealing with emotionally. I don’t mean that I started telling all of my problems to anyone that asked, I only mean that if I didn’t feel like going out with a friend I didn’t do it. If I needed to skip out on a social event I no longer felt guilty. Sometimes when I come home from work or class I put my phone on silent so I can unplug. Because sometimes I just don’t have the mental capacity to do it. And that’s okay.
And I won’t say I’m feeling fine After what I been through, I can’t lie
Twelve days ago Solange released her highly anticipated 4th album, “When I Get Home” and I’m still processing it. Much like her last album “A Seat at the Table” this album gets you thinking. Solange is a highly original and individual artist and she leaves her art open to interpretation. The song that has me in my feelings this week is track number 9, “Almeda”.
You’ll find a lot of opinions on the internet with opinions on what exactly the lyrics coupled with the unique music video means. To me, when I hear that trap-ish beat and Solange’s voice singing about all things black and brown I hear a celebration of blackness.
Brown liquor, brown liquor Brown skin, brown face Brown leather, brown sugar Brown leaves, brown keys Brown zippers, brown face Black skin, black braids Black waves, black days Black baes, black days These are black-owned things Black faith still can’t be washed away Not even in that Florida water
The music video affirms this. It is filled with black faces. Some in afros’s and beret’s, some in those stiff auntie hairstyles and long red acrylic nails. There’s also this scene of a bunch of black women, Solange included, in brown dresses and blonde wigs dancing. I’m not sure what it all means but the message to me is quite clear, we have to celebrate ourselves, our culture, our skin, our blackness because no one else will.
Diamonds they shine in the dark now Diamonds they shine in the dark now They takin’ me in, what I done? (What?) They takin’ me in, what I done? (What?)
I decided today I’d do a more upbeat love song “Can’t take my eyes off of you” by Lauryn Hill. It’s a cover of the 1967 Frank Valli song, but to be honest I didn’t realize it was a cover until years after I heard the Hill version, to me it’s always been Hill’s song. What I love about this song is the joyful beat and the sweet lyrics to it. I imagine a newly in love man or woman dancing to this song.
You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you
You’d be like heaven to touch, oh, I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived and I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true, I can’t take my eyes off of you
This song makes me smile every time I hear it. I just want to dance and twirl as if I was in love. Take a listen, I hope this song brightens your day the way it does mine.