MARCH 2017 – There’s no question we are living in very strange times. People on all sides of the political spectrum have something to say — and in many cases, what they say to each other isn’t very positive. Tensions are running high, people are frightened and others feel empowered. One thing we know from times of political upheaval, artists end up creating. Whether that’s sculpture, photography, painting or music, they let their voices be heard and share their frustrations. For this month’s playlist, general manager Patrick Hatton, a.k.a. our on-site musical guru, got to thinking about the protests that have sparked since the election and started pulling together a list of great protest songs throughout modern history. A common theme he found throughout much of the music? Hope. Hope prevails above all else. He sums up his thoughts behind this month’s playlist, “Songs of Freedom,” beautifully below. Go read it — and then listen to the songs from artists ranging from Bob Dylan and John Lennon to R.E.M. and Public Enemy. There aren’t many new songs on the list, which we think is good motivation for a future playlist, don’t you?
“THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT – I know, I know. If you have to say that something is not something that means that it probably is. This is not. Seriously.
The very first amendment in our Constitution provides the right to free speech among other things. In my opinion, this freedom is the most powerful right and responsibility we have. I have been fascinated and inspired watching men and women on all sides and for many causes use their voices to express how they feel and fight for what they believe in. This includes some of my favorite artists releasing what would classically be labeled “protest songs.” Traditional protest songs often take position against a condition or injustice to a people and tend to be rooted in anger. So I started putting together this collection of “protest” songs spanning back to the ’60s. Along the way, I found myself drawn to songs about hope and peace as well and thought perhaps my approach should be through a more positive lense. Like the nerd I am, I looked up the definitions of protest and freedom and found the definition of freedom — the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint — is what I connected with in this collection of music, so I renamed the playlist “Songs of Freedom.” Again, I am not making a political statement with this playlist, rather drawing inspiration from this freedom we have the right and power to use. The playlist covers songs of a better future, songs about apartheid, religious conflict, veterans rights, civil war in El Salvador, women’s rights, urban struggle, civil unrest, equality and songs of hope and peace.
I’m not telling you what to think, believe or speak out for or against, but you have a mind, a voice and the right to use it if you chose and, that my friends, is pretty powerful.”