As Tuesday is Election Day in the United States, many of us are filled with both anguish and hope that our country will make the right decision. The best thing to do to make that happen is to vote. While waiting for the impending results of this election, take some time to listen to a mix of some of the most interesting tracks of the last 50 years.
“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Aretha Franklin
Millions of people across the country look toward elections as the moment when change for the better will happen in America. Though that isn’t necessarily always the case, it is still important to be optimistic for the day that change comes, which is the message of this song. It was originally sung by Sam Cooke, but in times of awakening like this, it is necessary to include the voices of Black women — especially when they are as phenomenal as Aretha Franklin’s.
“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
Released in 1971, this song became the quintessential anthem of the anti-Vietnam War, pro-Civil Rights movement America. Gaye makes references to both the deaths of Black Americans by the hands of police and his brother’s experience as a soldier in Vietnam. Even today it remains relevant — becoming an anthem for the Black Lives Matter, gun control and women’s reproductive rights movements. During the coronavirus pandemic and a difficult election, many Americans are asking — “What’s Going On?”
“Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & the Pips
Georgia — for the first time in over 40 years — looks like it could potentially be won by the Democrats. So the question now becomes — is the “Midnight Train to Georgia” an Amtrak or a Trump Train?
“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar
This song became the protest anthem of the 2010s. The line “We gon’ be alright!” has been utilized heavily in Black Lives Matter protests. Even though the movement began in 2013, protests this year were extremely influential in the presidential race, centering demands for racial equity.
“a lot” by 21 Savage featuring J. Cole
Most people could describe 2020 as a lot. Even though this song was released in 2018, it is very poignant to America in 2020. The song reflects upon how death, violence, poverty and racism puts compounding pressure on Black people.
“Good Job” by Alicia Keys
The closer for Keys’ self-titled 2020 album, this is a tribute to frontline care workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients and have much at stake in the coming election.
“The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby
Lil Baby brings the best bars of his career to the most popular protest track released in 2020. An Atlanta native, he comments on police brutality, the oppression of Black people and Black Lives Matter protests in this song, which is accompanied by a beautiful music video.
“Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak
Another great track from 2020 reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic and this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, “Lockdown” considers the confounding factors of how we got here, violence, police brutality and systematic racism.
“It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M
Kind of self-explanatory.
“O-o-h Child” by The Five Stairsteps
But seriously, at the end of the day, we have to have hope that the country will get better. No matter who you vote for, it is important to remember this.
Listen to the full playlist here: