Text: Jake Viswanath
Today sucks. And under the direction of President Trump, many days in the next four years may be just as depressing and discouraging. But if 2016 proved anything, it’s that music can heal people through the absolute toughest times. This is our playlist of songs that can motivate you to fight and provide escape from reality for the next four years. We’ll all need some form of therapy, after all.
Destiny’s Child, “Survivor”
Donald Trump may not be out of our lives in the near future, but we can still be strong and defiant with his orange figure looming over us. Beyoncé and company’s classic chorus provides the perfect chant to warm up for a day of democratic protest and let your rage out in a productive and utterly fabulous way.
Lady Gaga, “Come to Mama”
Mother Monster has always been a significant source of support and comfort to her fans, but never has it been embodied more than this song. One of the more comforting standouts from Joanne, “Come to Mama” establishes a special line of support between human beings, where she attempts to answer the questions we ask ourselves everyday, set to one of the most camp and theatrical productions of her career.
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
As a person of color raised in one of the grittiest parts of Southern California, Kendrick Lamar knows what it feels like to fight for his rights and space in this world. The fight among all oppressed people won’t let up anytime soon, but this jam reminds us all that things will turn out alright in the end.
MUNA, “I Know A Place”
Sometimes the healthiest thing a person can do for themselves is to disengage from the world for a moment and seek escape in their own way. This is especially true for the LGBT community, who are constantly set back by intolerance and unjust laws. The rising pop trio knows this, and created this essential dose of disco-infused synth-pop to soundtrack our safe spaces.
Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”
On this psychedelic whirlwind of shimmering synths and hauntingly calm vocals, Kevin Parker sings, “I will not vanish and you will not scare me.” He accepts and prepares for an impending mess like us, but it’s lyrics like this that remind us to never back down from a fair fight.
Lily Allen, “Fuck You”
Originally written for George W. Bush in 2008, Lily’s savage takedown of an out-of-touch conservative man still serves as a brilliant act of defiance, specifically to members of Trump’s cabinet. To this day, there is nothing more satisfying than screaming out the chorus in bouts of frustration and laughter.
The iconic rapper has many politically charged tracks with important messages, but one of her latest efforts, “Borders,” feels especially significant for obvious reasons. Who knows if walls will actually be built and whether people will be “othered” based on their religion, but it’s a terrifying prospect regardless. Let this song reassure you that these concerns are valid, and motivate us to keep challenging these barriers.
Grimes, “Venus Fly (feat. Janelle Monaé)”
With its raucous beats and violin solos, “Venus Fly” sounds more like 2087’s best party jam rather than a cunning takedown of misogynists. Thankfully, it’s both. The V104 cover star and the ArchAndroid are sly but effective, letting us know that they will not abide by sexist beauty standards. You think Trump will get the message if it’s delivered via storming rave-pop?
Kanye West, "Gold Digger (feat. Jamie Foxx)"
We all known who this is dedicated to.
Lana Del Rey, “High By the Beach”
The Americana princess voices what we all secretly desire: to get high (or just escape via your personal vice) in the midst of this tumultuous time. And when responsibilities allow for it, why should we stop ourselves from taking a beach trip when the going gets tough? After all, Lana says it’s ok. Baby baby, bye bye.
Two Door Cinema Club, “Something Good Can Work”
One of the indie band’s first songs ever still strikes an emotional chord in today’s political climate. The vibrant ditty supplies a hint of optimism and hope for our future, but not without reminding us of the hard work and dedication required to make our former progressive vision a reality. Nothing is impossible.
Beyoncé, “Run the World (Girls)”
Trump may have won the Electoral College vote, but when you’re feeling down about it, leave it to Beyoncé to assure us who the majority of people actually wanted as our President. Frankly, also leave it to Queen Bey to remind Trump about who truly runs this world, just in case the Women’s March didn’t make it clear to him already.
Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Most of us have many memories of jumping on our beds and screaming Kelly Clarkson stompers into our hairbrush, whether it be for sheer empowerment or to get over an ex. This song was no exception, providing a nostalgic catharsis that only Kelly can give and wrapped up in a timeless message: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. No one will judge if you pull out that hairbrush again.
Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”
The most iconic and ubiquitous survival song of our time, “I Will Survive” will always hit close to home for all of us. Now more than ever is the perfect time to cue this at karaoke night and let your pain and inhibitions free in the most fearless way possible. Just make sure your friends don’t post it online (they will).
Britney Spears, “Till the World Ends”
If the worst case scenario occurs and the world implodes on itself due to Trump, the best thing we can do is live our last great moments to the fullest. Brit Brit provides the perfect soundtrack to this impending doom, complete with the most irresistible hook. Music is one of the greatest things this world has given, and even in times of absolute despair, I’m going to keep on dancing. Would you like to join?