Pa'lante by Hurray for the Riff Raff

Awkward Playlist: Habits of Dying Nations

One thing that’s difficult to wrap our heads around is the sheer amount of information bombarding us on a daily basis. We can barely understand new pieces of shocking corruption, racist tragedies, and systemic violence before the next new piece comes along. We feel helpless because even if we can figure out how to help one situation, dozens more that we’re too overwhelmed to help in the same way have just piled on.

That makes it so easy to lose track of the things we are helping and changing. We try our hardest, and lose track of even what we’re doing, of the change that we might be making.

One reason I put these songs together is that artists who are tackling particular elements can help to clarify them. We have a lot of the information about what’s happening around us in our heads, but when we get overwhelmed our emotions mix across the bunch of them and we lose sight of any in particular. We don’t process the information, and we just let others make narratives of it for us – often in a harmful way – just to feel a little less overwhelmed.

Art can get shoved to the side in moments like this, but that art can be an incredibly useful way to anchor emotions, to compartmentalize and clarify. A lot of this music contrasts in culture, tone, approach, perspective. The music videos below do share a focus, though. They’re each protest songs, protest videos, and they help me feel clearer because they all look to give a space for getting back to those emotional anchors about the things that rightly anger us.

“Vipers Follow You”
Amon Tobin


“The Seduction of Kansas”


Hurray for the Riff Raff


“They Keep Silence”


El Perro Del Mar




“No Land”
Buke & Gase


“Blood of the Fang”


“When the Fires Come”
Kero Kero Bonito

If you enjoy what you read on this site, consider subscribing to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s