What’s Going On: A Call for Reason and Understanding

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This May marked the 45th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s Soul masterpiece, What’s Going On. The soul legend’s eleventh studio effort is a concept record about a man returning home from the Vietnam War only to be confronted by a country in political turmoil, social injustice and hatred. Following the senseless violence that has plagued the US last week, Trebel music has put together a playlist featuring other classic anthems that call for compassion and understanding in the face of tragedy.

1. “What’s Going On?” – Marvin Gaye

The title track from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic record was inspired by a conversation with his brother Frankie following his return from the Vietnam War. Here Gaye reminds us that “only love can conquer hate.”

2. “For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield

Stephen Stills wrote the iconic Buffalo Springfield anthem in response to the Sunset Strip Riots of ‘66 where protesters clashed with the police over overly strict curfew and loitering laws.

3. “Don’t Wanna Fight” – Alabama Shakes

Brittany Howard’s strangled howl set before a panicked guitar riff only becomes more desperate sounding as she grows tired of the constant cycle of violence.

4. “Revenge (Feat. The Flaming Lips)” – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse

A somber track off Dark Night of the Soul featuring a defeated sounding Flaming Lips frontman, Wayne Coyne realizing, “The more I try to hurt you/The more that it hurts me.”

5. “Blackbird” – The Beatles 

Paul McCartney recently revealed “Blackbird” written as a message of hope and support to the American Civil Right’s Movements.

6. “Start a War” – The National

The National’s cautionary ballad warns that it never helps to lock away and ignore the real issues. Sooner or later, they’ll catch up to you.

7. “Bored In The USA” – Father John Misty

This stirring penultimate track from 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear shows Father John Misty fighting against his own indifference.

8. “I’ll Find A Way (To Carry It All)” – Blind Boys of Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama began with the goal to “spiritually uplift audiences” through their beautiful blend of gospel and traditional blues music.

9. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” – U2 

U2’s breakthrough hit off of War has been held up as one of the most ardent and impassioned Rock anthems of all time.

10. “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar

Even when faced with constant struggle and injustice, Kendrick Lamar attempts to remind that us that “if God got us then we gonna be alright.”

Featured Image via Unsplash

Download artists like Kendrick Lamar for free and listen without a wifi connection using the Trebel Music App!

1 Comment

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