List 4: Troubled Cells and Good Medicine

Week 4/ List 4:  List the soundtrack of your life right now.

About a month ago, my husband and I were talking about protest music; aware that we’re on the verge of a massive social and political sea change, he wondered what kind of new music would emerge from the chaos and turmoil.

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Then came the inauguration of He Who Must Not Be Named, and we were faced with the question of what to do–to watch or not to watch. I was committed to not watching, but Jeremy felt he wanted to do something more, something to counteract what was sure to be the negativity of the speech and ceremony. He came up with the great idea of “broadcasting” a Radio Free Protest Music hour on Facebook; every few minutes, he posted a new music video of a favorite protest song, like a running counter-commentary.

His collection was brilliant, and it got me thinking about my own favorite protest songs. I began compiling a list of those, some of which I shamelessly swiped from Jeremy’s playlist.

When I tried to think about the other music I’ve been listening to lately, I couldn’t help but find the connection back to resistance and protest. This is a trend I’m noticing in so many areas of my life: everything now is filtered through the lens of Voldemort and the coming Wizard War.

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Suddenly, the mournful strains of Tori Amos and Radiohead felt like resistance, the cries of a country afraid for its future. The dark rage of Nine Inch Nails feels cathartic and necessary. Even the insistent hard rock of all female outfits like Sleater Kinney and Savages, or the emotional release of Beyoncé’s Lemonade seems to have its finger on the pulse of this moment.

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The journal’s suggestion for expansion to week is to make a playlist of these songs as a memento of the person I am at this moment. I made the playlist, but I think, honestly, its more a memento of this cultural moment and my grappling with it. Here’s hoping you can find something in here, whether directly political or just generally comforting in its acceptance of darkness and fighting back.

(I recommend listening on shuffle, because I didn’t orchestrate a particular order to these songs.)

This post is part of a series inspired by the 52 lists project journal; you can catch up on past posts using the 52lists tag below!

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