Post-election playlist: What we’re listening to now to recover before an uphill progressive fight

Published 11/12/16

This hasn’t been an easy week for socially progressive people in America.

Those of us who hoped not to endure any major political shifts that would stall our progress towards becoming a more inclusive, diverse, accepting (or at least tolerant), equitable, safe, and sustainable society had our hearts broken on Election Night 2016. But the sun did in fact rise the next day, and our tears eventually subsided. What’s left now are massive voids of trust in our elected officials, and of any expectations that our government (state or federal) will champion the causes we fight for… at least not for the next several years.

It’s daunting just to state this (but it’s true): it’s more important now than ever to recharge the inner drive of the progressive movement. We have a long and difficult road ahead.

So bring on the motivating anthems, and buckle up for the ride.

1. Rise Up (Andra Day)

When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet”

2. My Shot (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Leslie Odom, Jr., Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton)

“Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot”

3. What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye)

You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate”

4. With God On Our Side (Bob Dylan)

“The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war”

5. Freedom (Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar)

“I break chains all by myself
Won’t let my freedom rot in hell
Hey! I’ma keep running
Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves”

6. Everybody’s Got A Right To Live (Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick and Jimmy Collier)

“We want our share of silver
We want our share of gold
We want our share of Justice
Hear our dying souls”

7. Be Free (J. Cole)

“I’m lettin’ you know
That there ain’t no gun they make that can kill my soul”

8. Unwritten (The Roots ft. Mercedes Martinez)

“When I think about the good times
I think about yesterday
You can ask me about the future
I don’t know what to say…
Tomorrow’s story’s unknown, so listen
It’s almost anyone’s guess, unwritten.”

9. Manifesto  (Nahko and Medicine for the People)

“Such different programming, to live so fearfully
Terror this and terror that, terrible reality
There is no medicine on the television
So turn it off and turn yourself around”

10. You Gotta Be (Des’ree)

“You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day”

11. Imagine (John Lennon)

“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”

12. Carry On (Fun.)

“May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground
Carry on”

13. Over The Rainbow (Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole)

I see friends shaking hands
Singing, ‘How do you do?’
They’re really singing, ‘I, I love you.'”

14. You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones)

“We went down to the demonstration
To get your fair share of abuse
Singing, ‘We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty-amp fuse'”

15. Lean On Me (Bill Withers)

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow”

16. Defeated No More (Disclosure ft. Edward Macfarlane)

“Defeated no more
I still watched you take it all
I’m healed and I’m reborn
But my heart’s shaking off the cold”

17. A Better Tomorrow (Wu Tang Clan)

“The world won’t get no better
If we just let it be
The world won’t get no better
We gotta change it yeah, just you and me”



Suggestions of songs to add to the #ProgressivePlaylist? Email digital AT