Until Tuesday night, Indie Skim Vol. 8 was going to be an upbeat mix of tracks from this weekend’s marathon playlist and female-fronted anthems in celebration of #pantsuitnation. I would have bet more money on me not finishing 26.2 miles than Hillary not taking the White House. But as we know, into the wee hours of November 9th, we all saw red.
I didn’t go to Union Square to protest tonight. Maybe I should have. Instead, I played Maggie Rogers’ “demo” on repeat, feeling deeply the meaning of her lyrics, “drenched in rage and crying for relief.” Father John Misty, always treating sensitive situations with both irony and grace, covered Tim Heidecker’s song “Trump’s Pilot.” It’s from the point of view of, yes, you guessed it, Trump’s private pilot – and ends in a very despairing, macabre way. While dramatized, the themes of anxiety and hopelessness aren’t lost on listeners. It’s an artistic amplification of being backed into a corner, of befuddlement, a helpless situation.
The playlist was always going to open with Brighton songstress Alyss’s “Lungs,” the intro track off her Motherland EP. It's fraught tribal beat and staccato war-cries pound out an admonition, warning, “this model is no longer working.” If you need distraction for both your eyes and ears, check out her visualizer that intensifies the already-powerful audio.
Elliot Moss’s remix of FLAWES’ track “Don’t Wait for Me,” and Owen Rabbit’s “Oh My God” – are melancholy pieces; they tap into the “just leave me be” mentality, and tap out a tempo that keeps me walking through the rain, shuffling down the subway stairs, holding a pole next to a stranger that probably has a lot of the same thoughts as me: a desire for camaraderie, a need for peace.
Della Lupa’s Steph Brown has a voice like a bell, ringing pure and pristine – so it’s both intriguing and disarming to hear the politically-laced lyrics on her track “Closed Borders.” She asks all the questions that should be simple to answer, “When you look at me, look at me lovingly, I always wonder – how could any love be a sin?” She references gunshots, wars, closed borders, blaming neighbors – sinking this pop ballad deep into the seas of relevancy.
Probably my favorite track on the list is Nashville folk trio The Arcadian Wild’s “Wolves of the Revolution” because it has hopeful, harmonious vocals and lyrics – “Born young and wild; don't let them cut your tail / Just a pinch of salt in the wound you'll be fine; one last life line I'm hanging high.” The positivity is palpable.
We’ll be okay. We put a woman on the ballot for president. Yesterday my baby brother had a daughter. The future IS female; we’re just living in a real world where a step forward might mean a half-step back before we all get our foot-work coordinated, and get back on track.
In the meantime, let these songs that have your back.