This was a big week for all of us, huh? I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted – not defeated but pretty exhausted. Well, in honor of the Inauguration, I’d like to offer a handful of my own personal reflections for this week’s mixtape. I pray these songs might provide you with some comfort but, if anything, that they help start a civil conversation. We need more of those and, in these difficult times, music is a great help. Onward and upwards, shall we?
Ever Feel Like It’s the End Times? Selection of the Week
Soulfy – “World Scum”
“A warning I see in these eyes, you cannot put a price on life, Holy purge will crack the sky, terror screaming in the dark.”
Ok, let’s get this one out of the way – you know how you immediately dismiss the one who first screams anti-Christ? Yeah, well, it’s a strange moment when you realize that it’s coming out of your own mouth. No, I’m not saying Trump is the anti-Christ but for all his blustering belligerence, he is decidedly antithetical to Christian values. Combine this with a worldwide sense of unease and tension and, well, it’s kind of hard not to feel on edge. I will admit that I was downright angry on Friday and listened to a fair amount of apocalyptic thrash and death metal to take off the edge but no more of that – we are called to be a light in the darkness!
And, besides, he’s probably not a harbinger of the apocalypse.
How We Look To The World Right Now Selection of the Week
Liam Lynch – “United States of Whatever”
So, just to review: we hired a sleazy, questionable businessman turned reality TV star with absolutely zero experience in public service but a whole lot of shady if not outright dastardly connections who has been in the public eye for over 3 decades as an unapologetically crass, perverted, and self-serving belligerent buffoon to be the President of the United States of America.
The world is watching, yes, but they’re also (nervously) laughing.
He’s a Man of the People Selection of the Week
Death Cab For Cutie – “Million Dollar Loan”
“His enemies can’t contain the flames of jealousy, with brutish charm the women flock to be on his arm, because it’s a sign of weakness to apologize and he counter sues from any corner he’s backed into.”
Trump is our president – this means he works for us and don’t you dare forget it. He’s made a lot of promises along the way and a lot of them have been to people that he cannot possibly relate to. He has lived a life of enormous privilege and, yet, ran on a blue collar ticket. That already feels pretty damn sketchy but it’s even worse when you think about all the people he’s screwed over in his very public life. From the workers he’s employed to build his real estate empire to the thousands of students he extorted through his “university,” Trump has always puffed up his persona to make it seem like he isn’t the goon we all know he is. He’s our employee now, however, whether he realizes it or not – it’s up to us to make sure he knows he can’t simply get away with whatever he wants any longer.
America’s Got a Long Way Until It’s Great Selection of the Week
Drive-By Truckers – “Once They Banned Imagine”
“Are you now or have you ever been in cahoots with the notion that people can change, when history happens again if you do or you did you’ll be blamed”
Where we find ourselves is nothing new – but “nothing new under the sun” ain’t that comforting. In the coming years, there are sure to be more aimless witch hunts, more lives questioned and burdened by fear and hatred, and more energy wasted on remaining divided rather than working together. John Lennon’s “Imagine,” with all its discomforting calling out of our sacred cows, remains as essential and necessary as ever. On Drive-By Trucker’s latest, and their most pointedly political, these masterful Southern story tellers make sure that we do not look away from the ugly truth of this country because, if we do, we will be doomed to repeat our past. We’ve never truly been great, not yet anyway, but we can imagine – and we can get there – together.
Nazi Punks F**k Off Selection of the Week
Tim Heidecker – “Richard Spencer”
“You can’t wish anyone dead / even if their baseball cap is red / But if you see Richard Spencer / Why don’t you punch him in the head?”
Together, yes, but maybe not in the state we find ourselves in. I’m nearly convinced that every true, red blooded American should be required – nay, naturally compelled – to watch the video of Alt-Right figure head, Richard Spencer, get decked in the middle of explaining his Pepe the Frog pin. Normally, I would not advocate violence of any kind even during these troubled times but, when it comes to the millennial rebrand version of the neo-Nazis, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that they should be snuffed out at every turn. And, thanks to Tim Heidecker of absurdist comedy troupe Tim & Eric fame who is now enjoying a delightfully adept career as a folk troubadour, we have our lighter waving anthem to help us ride the euphoria of doing Captain America proud and decking some Nazis in the name of FREEDOM.
Rebellions Are Built On Hope Selection of the Week
Kate Tempest – “Europe is Lost”
“She’s worried ’bout the world tonight, she’s worried all the time, she don’t know how she’s supposed to put it from her mind.”
For all the anger, fear, and madness of this week, Saturday was one of the greatest day I’ve ever experienced as an American. In the largest, most peaceful protest this country has ever seen, millions gathered around the country to have their voices heard with millions more joining around the world in solidarity. We might have a president who campaigned on fear and division but Saturday proved we won’t stand for it. Whether insecure men want to admit it or not, women are the root of our cultures, our well-being, and our very lives – and they made it known that no matter how big his locker room talk, he would not be taking advantage of them as president. British spoken word rapper Kate Tempest’s song might be a bit more pessimistic than this cheerful assessment might warrant but, make no mistake: women, with all their intuition and empathy, see the wounds of the world clearly and with their strength and their love, are our best hope for healing. So yeah, a lot of it might be shit but, if Saturday was any indication, we won’t be standing for any of it.
Ok, Time To Get To Work Selection of the Week
Dams of the West – “Death Wish”
“I’m working on my empathy, I’m working on my self-control, I’m working on accepting the world, and trying to keep my clothes off the floor.”
After beginning this week’s selections on such a doom & gloom note, I really ought to end it on a positive note from Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson and his upcoming project Dams of the West. This is a great motivational tune to help you remember that not all hope is lost. We find ourselves pretty low, divided and delirious, but there is something that each of us can do: work. Just work on yourself to be better. Work with your local community to be better. Keep working on the national level and getting your voice heard so we can be better. It all starts with us and, little by little, we can actually make this country great. But there’s no way in hell we’re going to be able to if we don’t work on ourselves for the sake of one another other.
After all, Jesus said that was an important part of it and He focused on the fixable things – so, I’m pretty sure we got this.