Posted on January 14, 2020 by

Music Studies – A Civil Rights Inspired Playlist

At the start of 2019 my class was studying the civil rights era in America. We were given a project with multiple options on how we wanted to complete it. One of these options was to create a playlist of songs that pertained to the ideas of social justice and liberation. I created a playlist focused around the liberation of queer peoples through music, particularly focused on genres that are less accepting of certain identities. I had two main areas of focus, the glam era of rock and roll in the 70’s and 80’s and modern genres of hip hop, pop and rap.

This assignment was thoroughly enjoyed by my teacher, being described as a “Highlight of the year!” and “…exemplary in deeply exploring a theme through music.” She went on to say, “What made your playlist exceptional was that you not only ‘analyzed’ each song; you also assigned the song and artist a place in a particular time and movement.”

This compilation features ten songs with background and explanation for each of them. A YouTube playlist with all the songs can be found at the top of the section labeled Asa’s Playlist and the Project Background page has the assignment we were given.


Holocaust Project – An Ambient Expression

This piece was inspired by an in-class experience, after we finished watching a documentary on the first discovery of concentration camps by liberating forces. The documentary contained what can only be described as horrific imagery and its end left the classroom in silence. This silence was only interrupted by the clock on the wall ticking, marking the continuous passage of time. If it were not for my teacher stepping forward to speak, we would have gone the last seven minutes of class without saying a word, but the question he asked was answered with more of the same silence that had permeated the class before. Soon the steady tick tock of the clock returned as if it were guiding us on our own journey of processing these images. As I left the room the noise of the clock followed me throughout the day, and I knew that my creative project would have to involve it.

I had initially planned to create a painting, but I had my reservations about not having a direct connection to the Holocaust and trying to put myself in someone else’s shoes. My ideas had stagnated until I had the experience mentioned in the before paragraph. I think the piece best works as a contemplative creation and one that can be used to enhance other works of art. This project was created as my own experience but also one that my entire class shares. I know that no single person can convey anything close to the true impact of the Holocaust and I am not attempting to do so. What I wish to achieve instead is a spark to ignite conversation around the topic using this piece to go off of.

Music I Share With People – An Unusual Spotify Playlist

Music isn’t always about being serious or something just for school projects, it’s also something I do for fun. I have been curating some Spotify playlists in my free time, this started as nothing more than just me collecting the music I like into one place. I shared a playlist with some friends and they enjoyed it so I decided to put a link to it on my Instagram and told my friends to get people to follow it. I do not know if it was due to putting the link on my social media or the title and image that capitalized on the “lofi hip-hop beats” trend that was popular about a year ago but the follower count blew up to a level I did not anticipate.

The playlist now has around 100 followers at the time of writing this. I understand that this number is not very many in any sort of large scale but for me it is quite a lot. I have been continually updating this playlist since its creation, adding songs as I find new ones and removing ones that I no longer think fit the theme that I want while trying to keep it all around a reasonable size. I have linked the playlist below, if you feel inclined to listen, as the description says, “Better when shuffled but you do you.”

Music I Have Made – A Textural Expression

I have also made some music myself. This has been for my own fun and learning so far. All my songs have been created using Garage Band or Ableton with a combination of built in sounds and, samples taken from various places in my life and the internet. The songs linked below encapsulate emotions I was feeling at the time of creating them even if I wasn’t aware of them at the time, Gliding through themes of anger, boredom and indifference for the most part. This idea of emotions was also the inspiration for the title of the project.

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