The entire community of Berkeley has been bracing itself for what’s been the talk of the town as of late: “Free Speech Week.” Whether you’re enraged and ready to protest, worried and trying to steer clear of any danger zones or just simply trying to go through your daily routine with minimal disruption, we at the Clog have designed a playlist for you to help survive whatever is in store for us this week.
“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – Gil Scott-Heron
This timeless spoken-word song illustrates that a revolution isn’t just something you see over a television screen, but rather it’s something that’s really happening somewhere. In the case of Free Speech Week, that somewhere is Berkeley, and while you may see coverage on it in major news outlets, the revolution will indeed be live.
“The Numbers” – Radiohead
Radiohead has always been a politically conscious band, with songs such as “Idioteque” or the “Hail to the Thief” album as a whole. “The Numbers” may be a song about climate change, but it could just as easily apply to Free Speech Week. The breezy acoustic guitar and the repeated lyric of “one day at a time” makes it an essential track for any protest occasion.
“Call the Police” – LCD Soundsystem
Fresh off their new album released a couple of weeks ago, LCD Soundsystem’s infectious anthem features incredibly on-point lines such as “There’s a full-blown rebellion but you’re easy to confuse / By triggered kids and fakers and some questionable views.” Also, the police will inevitably be called during next week’s events.
“We the People…” – A Tribe Called Quest
Ever since the very beginning, A Tribe Called Quest’s mission statement has been to offer hope during times that are socially and politically difficult. This standout cut off of their farewell album from last year takes on discrimination and inequality and is an ideal anthem to fight for your free speech to.
“What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye
A song inspired by activity in Berkeley’s own People’s Park during the 1960s, “What’s Going On” is a mainstay on many protest and activism playlists. To this day, the questions of “Why is this happening?” and “What are we doing wrong?” remain worth asking.
“We Got the Power” – Gorillaz
A very simple song with a very simple message, Damon Albarn and company are here to remind you that we do indeed have the power to be loving each other and to achieve our dreams and goals. Feel free to dance as well.
“Mind Games” – John Lennon
Lennon songs and protest playlists go together like bread and butter, with this song including widely used and timeless protest phrases of “Make love, not war” and “Yes is the answer.” After all, if Lennon isn’t going to inspire peace amongst the community, what will?
“People Have the Power” – Patti Smith
The title says it all, be it the power to fight for freedom of speech or the power to simply go to class amid this week’s events.
“Parties in the USA” – Jonathan Richman
This song’s a classic for what it’s like when you just want to have a good time but the world is too strange a place to do so. “I know there’s got to be parties, I bet there’s a lot/ But the U.S.A. has changed somehow that I can’t name” — we students can relate.
“People Say” – Portugal. The Man
This is another tune about taking periods of struggle one day at a time. While we’re right to be concerned about the events that Free Speech Week will enable, it will just be a small part in the grand history of UC Berkeley protests.
“Life on Mars?” – David Bowie
One of Bowie’s finest songs questions the identity and being of things and is similar to “What’s Going On” in that it wants us to ask why we’re having to resort to such events. Also, in the worst-case scenario, we may be finding ways to get ourselves to Mars.
“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – R.E.M.
I mean, is any playlist about revolutionary activity complete without this song? The fast-paced singing perfectly captures how frantic we all feel about such events, yet the chorus matches the fact that we’re willing to accept whatever potentially bizarre outcome this week will have.
“Alright” – Kendrick Lamar
Free Speech Week may be causing anxiety throughout campus, but we’ll survive. Amidst whatever chaos pertaining to you personally and to the UC Berkeley community, just take it from Kung Fu Kenny that we gon’ be alright.
We hope these songs will help get you through Free Speech Week in once piece!
Contact Doug Smith at [email protected].