Here’s a pitch-perfect way to end the year.
This holiday season, ePa is sharing with you—our clients, friends, and collaborators—some of the songs that inspire us to keep working towards a more equitable, peaceful and cultured world.
Music is an essential part of our American culture. We turn to music to make change, question our government leaders, and inspire a diverse nation, even the world to action. From Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin On, to Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Ever Changing Times.
What songs have struck a chord with you in 2023?
These are the songs that have struck a pitch-perfect cord with ePluribusAmerica in capturing 2023:
What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye, is a concept album. The narrative established by the song is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering, and injustice. And it almost didn’t get released because the “powers” behind the music industry, Berry Gordy, hated the song and refused to release it until Gaye put his foot down and demanded it be released. Decades later, the world is still asking the same question delivered in this powerful song.
Strange Days, The Doors, the lyrics birth the truth of the matter, “Strange days have found us, Strange days have tracked us down, They’re going to destroy, Our casual joys, We shall go on playing or find a new town, Yeah!,” making this song a perfect description of the world today.
Near DT, MI, Black Midi, a short and simple reflection of our times that raises the issue of Detroit Michigan’s water crisis that went unchecked and unchanged for years under government watch and control. Our government turns a blind eye to our poisoned waters, social and economic needs, while they feed their war machines with trillions of our tax dollars. Michael Jackson’s cry, “they don’t really care about us” still echoes across America.
Lift Me Up, Rihanna, takes you to an internal place where only you and the ancestors reside. A reminder that they are watching over us and the work we do to carry on.
Rise Up, Andra Day, captures perfectly, not just how tough this year has been, but that our work to improve the world is ongoing and there is no rest for the weary. We must all rise up and together face the inhumanity taking root.
Someday We’ll All Be Free, Donny Hathaway, reminds me of my father’s favorite quote by Benard Ighner, “There are few things in life you can be sure of, except Rain falls from the clouds, Sun lights up the day, And hummingbirds do fly.”
Get Up, Stand Up, Bob Marley, is a spiritual song that transcends time and generations. It continues to move and inspire people all over the world to get up and stand up for their inalienable human rights. Today, this musical message is more important than ever as people all over the world face over-militarized and corrupt governments, especially here in America where our elected officials continue to support the genocide in Palestine, in spite of the People’s objections, and even bypassing Congress to continue to provide weapons to Israel in its barbaric bombardment of Gaza and crimes against humanity.
Unknown Soldier, The Doors, the song recalls the death of a faceless soldier in combat, while life goes on at home, “news is read” and “children fed”. The Unknown Soldier brings back memories of those lost to war. It also reminds of our lust for and comfort with wars, in spite of its toll on mankind and our humanity. In America’s 247 years as a nation, only 15 of those have been without a war. We are a culture that prays to Ares, the god of war. This song also reminds that a human being sits inside each uniform holding a weapon aimed at others.
Wicked World, Black Sabbath, listening to this song and over-standing the lyrics, “The world today is such a wicked place, Fighting going on between the human race, People go to work just to earn their bread, While people just across the sea are counting the dead,” We, The People must face this new wrinkle in time with a united front and turn to those who are leading us, and ask: What has changed and where are you leading us?
A Change Gonna Come, Sam Cooke, is a personal reflection of the times. Cooke and many Black musicians and artists were experiencing blatant racism and discrimination, and were regularly turned away from whites-only establishments and hotels. Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his struggle and of those around him, and that pertained to the Civil Rights Movement and African Americans. Today, Americans from every walk of life are still hoping change will come, as our elected play their war games abroad and audaciously disregarding the needs and wants of We, The People here at home. A flagrant desecration of the Constitution. And so, a change MUST come in 2024.