After listening to a lot of punk and post-punk after a shit-filled sluice was opened by the Supreme Court this past week (especially Sleater-Kinney), I thought I’d switch gears a bit.

This song came up while searching for last week’s pick, and was nearly chosen. But while angry music was needed then, I think uplifting (while still motivating) music is needed this week.

This particular remix reminds me of the civil-rights era music of Curtis Mayfield and Gil Scott-Heron. Music that simultaneously contained sadness, indignation, and anger, but also inspiration, hope, and the motivation to press on. 13th Century Metal by Brittany Howard has all of that. Howard’s lyrics are deceptively positive. But sung over the Heron-esque rhythm and intoned backing vocals there’s still fight in this tune.

Howard also inspires me personally at this point in my life. She left her job as a Postal Worker (amongst other gigs) to pursue music. She has spoken rather candidly about how she never thought she had a good singing voice early on. In fact, it was her sister Jaime (to who this album is dedicated), who she thought was the more talented artist.

I remind myself of this as I listen to her incredible voice and unmatched talent as I leave Academia for a solo art career. Time to fight on, but as a society but also as I work to make this art thing work for me.

I dedicate my spirit in the service
Of what is good and fair and righteous
Every day I am alive
I am given opportunities to become that which I admire most of others
I am nonviolent
I am a master student and my spirit
Will never be stomped out


Featured image by Brantley Gutierrez.