Sunday, June 28, 2015

Music Me a Revolution

For as long as I can remember, music has always provided a soundtrack for my life. Whether I am going through tough times (Sarah McLachlan and India.Arie work as my personal spirit guides), good times (Lady GaGa and Rihanna are staples in that department), or sad times (usually anything blues- or country-related. Think Susan Tedeschi, Johnny Cash, anything by George Strait).

So, of course, I have soundtracks for transformations, whether they be personal or universal. And what better time to discuss my transformation soundtrack than now. A time of constitutionally-ordered marriage equality, a time when states are asking themselves if flying the Confederate flag is the best way to honor the South, a time when sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia are being discussed, debated, and confronted on a daily basis.

For your listening and viewing pleasure, here are my Six Ways to Music Your Way into a Rebellion (Personal or Otherwise):

1. Fall Out Boy; "The Phoenix" released 2013.
I fell in love with this song as soon as it came out. I was counseling a 14-year-old girl, at the time, who was OBSESSED with Fall Out Boy and this song was a way for us to connect. While the video itself seems to reflect a bank-job-gone-wrong scenario, the lyrics are very empowering and leave me reflecting on the social changes happening:

Put on your war paint!
So we can take the world back from a heart attack, one maniac at a time we will take it back.
Hey young blood! Doesn't it feel like our time is running out?
I'm gonna change you like a remix, then I'll raise you like a phoenix.
Wearing our vintage misery, no I think it looked a little better on me!

2. Angel Haze ft. Sia; "Battle Cry" released 2014.
***TRIGGER WARNING!!! Video shows depictions of abuse and self-injury***

I love love LOVE Sia and equally LOVE female rappers. And Angel Haze is spot on! This song is emotional, strong, soft, and hard all at once. It leaves me reflecting personal struggles, but also empowers me to "keep fighting the good fight." Words of wisdom include:

Money cannot buy all the love that's here tonight.
It's just you and I, so lift your hands towards the sky.
"Bitch you can't tell me nothing!"
I'm trying to outrun my past, but still trying to defeat my limits.
You're the only person alive who holds the keys to your healing.
We don't wanna fight, so sing with me a battle cry.

3. Little Mix; "Salute" released 2014.

I first heard this song in ZUMBA class and it quickly became my favorite! This song is fun, fierce, and pro-woman, EVERY kind of woman, as the lyrics suggest:

It's who we are, we don't need no camouflage.
Get your killer heels, sneakers, pumps, or lace up your boots.
Representin' all the woman! Salute! Salute!
If you think we're just pretty things, you couldn't be more wrong.
Ladies: the time has come...let us stand together!

4. The Dollyrots; "Because I'm Awesome" released 2007.

I am a firm believer everyone should start and end their day with this satirical, "go me!" anthem. Complete with empowering lyrics and a shout-out to "Smells Like Teen Spirit"-style cheerleaders:

Just look at me!
I'm a leader, I'm a winner, and I'm cleaner 'cause I'm awesome!
I don't need you, 'cause I'm neat-o, and I beat you 'cause I'm awesome!
They say I'm gifted, well I'm a certified prodigy!
I'm gonna own you, I'm gonna bring you to your knees!

5. Beyoncé; "Run The World (Girls)" released 2011.

The reason for this song is simple: Beyoncé.

Who run the world? Girls!
I'm repping for the girls who taking over the world, have me raise a glass for the college grads!
To the other men that respect what I do, please accept my shine.
Boy you know you love it how we're smart enough to make these millions, strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.

6. 4 Non-Blondes; "What's Up" released 1993.

My last pick is more introspective, while also touting the discrepancies we continue to battle in society. We have come so far from 1993, yet still have many roads left to travel. Plus the lead singer, Linda Perry, is married to "Darlene" from Roseanne and that makes me happy:

I'm trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination.
And I take a deep breath and I get real and I scream from the tops of my lungs 'What's going on?!'
And I try, oh my God, do I try, I try all the time in this institution!
And I pray, oh my God, do I pray, I pray every single day for a revolution!


Just because I am such a fan of Riot Grrrl anthems and this is easily one of my most played tracks on my iPod. I am always looking to add music to my collection, so feel free to share any transformation/revolution suggestions that get your inner-protestor going in the comments! I leave you with "Rebel Girl" by the incomparable Bikini Kill. (And yes this IS the second time I have referenced this song on my blog. You're welcome, world. You are welcome. #kathleenhannaforlife)


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