Goodbye 2017: Here’s a Playlist to Say Goodbye
Our relationship with 2017 was traumatic. We fought bare knuckled, screamed our voices dry, and wept every day hopeless. In early 2016, we were in love and walked tall—assumed 2017 would gift us with our first female president. We were wrong. 2017 was a bully who gained muscle and traction since 2008 when our first Black president was elected. Foolish love: we had hope that perhaps Hillary Clinton could win next but we were really, really wrong. With this Icarus-like tale of glee, we drowned in 2017 because of the stable genius of Donald Trump whose only unyielding values are wrath, racism and misogyny. But we did our find our voice in this toxic relationship. We stood up with the #Metoo campaign and even launched a corresponding female-led sustainability effort on economics and gender. We voted a Black, female mayor in Charlottesville who is committed to the city’s restoration and healing. We managed to show our best selves in horrid times.
Now it’s time to process ‘17. We broke-up but still need to reassess what to leave and take with us and music is the perfect conduit for that reflection and backpacking into 2018. Let’s break-down, dance, and take new lessons to keep our heads held high as we eat popcorn and gawk at other monumental break-ups.
10. Jessie Ware: “Selfish Love” from Glasshouse
We lost ourselves in ’17 because we didn’t stop fighting and neglected extensive breaks. How could we? But it doesn’t matter because we need to rest and honor self-compassion. Love is not selfish for ourselves and if it’s deemed selfish, then damnit let’s be selfish then! Listen to the 80s Sade-like production of “Selfish Love” and learn to spoil and love something crazy for ’18. There’s only room for one in your heart.
9. Beck: “Dreams” from Colors
It was a nightmare trying, hoping and falling into you 2017 but I’m taking my girls with me to dream. I love the Duran Duran shimmy in this track and it reminds me in this new year we have a new collective that wants to recover and learn to dream again.
8. Selena Gomez: “Bad Liar” from Bad Liar
Ooh you’re taking up a fraction of my mind/Oh ooh every time I watch you serpentine…Oh tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’/Not to think about you
We’re still bruised and anxious from that cowardice partner called 2017 and we’re lying if we think ’18 can be a fresh cutting if we ignore the essential bloodletting. Selena Gomaz has incredible jig-happy music but also cops for Woody Allen. Ya’ll we have to process our cognitive dissonance and multiple truths in order to advocate for ourselves and others. We lie; we’re privileged; we’re screwed up. We will not only obsessively think about ’17 but make the same crap mistakes like silencing or victim-blaming. We gotta leave behind TERF-ism and lack of intersectional inclusion that was apparent during #Meetoo discussions.
7. Sampha: “Incomplete Kisses” from Process
Sampha’s voice is honey in slow motion. I first learned of him with Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” and desperately wanted to dance with him in that unforgettable music video. Process has some weary tracks and the album discusses grief, family and recovery. I toyed between including this track or “Blood On Me” but I’m choosing “Incomplete Kisses” because of this line we need to hear on finding and gaining new light again: Those incomplete kisses, those incomplete/Wait too long you’ll miss it, wait too long. We can’t let ’17 prevent us from having hope again.
6. SZA: “Love Galore” from Ctrl
SZA’s album was especially notable and pertinent post Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Commitment, virtue and lust are all wrapped in this track. What do we do with those annoying ghosts who keep coming back? What do we do to stop the world’s enabling, lustful behavior for attention, vindictiveness and privilege? Why you bother me when you know you don’t want me? We control what we can and own our mistakes to move forward in honesty. Although some of us need therapy and prayer or maybe a chariot to hell.
5. Zola Jesus: “Exhumed” from Okovi
There’s always that flaming bridge during relationship reflection—the bit that encompasses confession, hope and despair and all those sentiments are succinctly crafted in Zola Jesus’ track “Exhumed.” This is a dark album regarding suicide, depression and death. We need to cry it out sometimes. Overeating Netflix to avoid processing grief is not helping.
4. Kendrick Lamar: “DNA” from Damn.
We need more confidence to ourselves: foul or lovely. Kendrick leads us into such an anthem: I got, I got, I got, I got/Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA/Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA/I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA/I got hustle though, ambition, flow, inside my DNA
3. Jay Z: “Smile” from 4:44
Hova creates a love letter about his mother, sexuality, and gratitude. Yeah, it’s not about a romantic relationship but it marks the importance of remembering whose shoulders we stand on to be here, fighting and caring.
2. Haim: “Want You Back” from Something To Tell You
Don’t do it. It’s not worth going back. But still dance to the handclap production during the chorus.
1. Cardi B: “Bodak Yellow”
Listen, this could be a list about the most influential Russian Philosophers or a compilation of the best places to buy dried lavender in the south and I would still finagle Cardi B into the list. This song is the apex of overcoming hardship with its flexed calves and high-heeled shoes. This is the song you play as you light ’17 on fire (or burn sage) in a red fur coat (faux of course).