Friday Music: Pink’s ‘What About Us?’

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Image courtesy of Pink and the AMAs.

On a rainy day in the midst of exhausting sexual harrassment news, we needed a song with some ethical fire. The song What About Us?, by Pink, has been all over the radio, but we hadn’t listened carefully to the words ’til Pink was on NPR, having a frank conversation with Michel Martin about the state of US politics. What About Us? is all about the past year.

Here’s an excerpt of what Pink had to say (full transcript here):

MARTIN: I heard this song cold, like knowing nothing about it. And I’m thinking, boy, this could be about a relationship. This could be about a family. And this could certainly be about what’s happening more broadly. So without kind of ruining it for people who are just hearing it for the first time, do you mind if I ask, what were you thinking about when you wrote this?

PINK: I think that’s so interesting. I played this for one of my girlfriends a while ago. And she said, oh, my goodness, the way you write about your relationship and your love, and to me, that’s love. And I thought in the back of my head because that’s, for me – I’ll tell you what I wrote it about – but at that moment, I was like, wow, you should never tell somebody what a song is about because I never want to take away their meaning.

PINK: The place I was coming from was just sort of I just feel like we’ve been failed by our government and that we have this very dysfunctional relationship. And that government in general has a dysfunctional relationship within itself. And, you know, I grew up listening to my mom and dad argue, and it just feels like that. And there’s a lot of people that feel forgotten and invisible and are being made to feel less than and unwanted and unloved. And it hurts my heart. And so I have a pen, and I write. I write about that.

And here are the song’s lyrics:

What About Us?

We are searchlights, we can see in the dark
We are rockets, pointed up at the stars
We are billions of beautiful hearts
And you sold us down the river too farWhat about us?
What about all the times you said you had the answers?
What about us?
What about all the broken happy ever afters?
What about us?
What about all the plans that ended in disaster?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?We are problems that want to be solved
We are children that need to be loved
We were willing, we came when you called
But man you fooled us, enough is enough

What about us?
What about all the times you said you had the answers?
What about us?
What about all the broken happy ever afters?
What about us?
What about all the plans that ended in disaster?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?

What about us?
What about all the plans that ended in disaster?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?

Sticks and stones they may break these bones
But then I’ll be ready, are you ready?
It’s the start of us, waking up, come on
Are you ready? I’ll be ready
I don’t want control, I want to let go
Are you ready? I’ll be ready
Cause now it’s time to let them know
We are ready

What about…
What about us?
What about all the times you said you had the answers?
So what about us?
What about all the broken happy ever afters?
What about us?
What about all the plans that ended in disaster?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?

What about us?

*

Also worth the listen: Pink’s full interview with Martin.

Friday Music: Song for a Peaceful Night

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Image by Laura Bolter

Today is the tenth anniversary of my father’s death, and next week is the start of the Jewish new year, or Rosh Hashanah. In honor of the occasions, here’s a Jewish prayer and song, Hashkiveinu, sung by Craig Taubman. Hashkiveinu means something like ‘Let us lie down’. For me, the fall has always felt like a time of renewal, perhaps because it’s when the school year starts.

Emily and I wish you a weekend of peace and time spent with loved ones.   ~ Eva

The full translation is as follows:

Grant that we may lie down in peace, Eternal God, and awaken us to life.

Shelter us with Your tent of peace and guide us with Your good counsel. Shield us from hatred, plague and destruction. Keep us from warm famine and anguish. Help us to deny our inclination to evil.

God of peace, may we always feel protected because You are our Guardian and Helper. Give us refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Guard our going forth and our coming in and bless us with life and peace.

Blessed are You, Eternal God, whose shelter of peace is spread over us, over all Your people Israel, and over Jerusalem.*

Transliteration (phonetic translation of Hebrew words): Hashkiveinu, Adonai Eloheinu, l’shalom, v’haamideinu shomreinu l’chayim, ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha, v’takneinu b’eitzah tovah milfanecha, v’hoshi-einu l’maan sh’mecha. V’hagein baadeinu, v’haseir mei-aleinu oyeiv, dever, v’chere, v’raav, v’yagon, v’harcheik mimenu avon vafesha. Uv’tzeil k’nafecha tastireinu, ki El shomreinu umatzileinu atah, ki El chanun v’rachum atah. Ushmor tzeiteinu uvo-einu l’chayim ul’shalom, mei-atah v’ad olam. Baruch atah, Adonai, haporeis sukat shalom aleinu v’al kol amo Yisrael v’al Yerushalayim.

Hebrew:

הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים. וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם
מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם

 

*All three translations from Temple Adat Elohim, here.

Friday Music: Rhiannon Giddens, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’

Wayfaring Stranger is an old North American folksong that’s been sung by artists as diverse as Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, and Ed Sheeran. We like this version by Rhiannon Giddens. Lyrics below.

A restful weekend to you, from us!

Wayfaring Stranger

I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world of woe
But there’s no sickness, toil nor danger
In that fair land to which I go
I’m going there to see my father
I’m going there no more to roam
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home

I know dark clouds will gather round me
I know my way is rough and steep
But beau-teous fields lie just before me
Where God’s redeemed their vigils keep
I’m going home to see my mother
She said she’d meet me when I come
I’m only going over Jordan
I’m only going over home
I’m just a going over home

Friday Music: Bragg & Henry, ‘The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore’

Bragg-Henry-TrainRoute
Image courtesy of the Shine a Light website.

Happy Friday, everyone. Time for our end-of-week wind-down. We learned about the Shine A Light album this week: guitar and vocals from Billy Bragg and Joe Henry as they rode the train from Chicago to L.A. Here they are singing The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore. Be kind to yourself this weekend.

Friday Music: Kidjo’s ‘Malaika’

We love you, Angélique! Angélique Kidjo sings Malaika.

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Image: A. Kidjo’s Twitter profile.

We’re happy to Angélique Kidjo all day; it’s the resonance of her voice that blows us away.

Malaika is a Swahili-language love song probably best known in the U.S. via Miriam Makeba’s rendition. Kidjo’s version, below, is sung with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s representative of her efforts to combine different music heritages for the sake of both artistry and bringing people together.

We love you, Angélique!