On March 30, 2017—two months after the inauguration of the United States’ current president—Taking Back Sunday’s John Nolan, Collective Confusion Records, Hopeless Records, and the non-profit organization Sub City launched the benefit compilation titled Music For Everyone. Nolan compiled a variety of rare and unreleased politically charged songs from numerous “musical voices from different shades of the spectrum.” The digital album has been available for purchase online at https://musicforeveryone.bandcamp.us since March 30 and proceeds from Music For Everyone has benefitted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Given the documented political beliefs and opinions of the current US president, much of the nation has been wary of the effect this leadership may have against all minorities. Nolan said, “In the next four years, there is a lot of potential to see policies that will discriminate against people of color, Muslims, women, and the LGBT community. The ACLU has a long history of fighting discriminatory and unconstitutional policies and I wanted to do something to unite people in support of that fight.”
Music For Everyone is a collection of songs that vocalizes the concerns of American citizens in a creative way. It’s often difficult for the individual to believe they have much of an impact in politics or history, but it’s through advocacy that the people are heard. The album advocates the importance of diversity in America as well as, not only tolerating but also accepting and including people of all races, cultures, walks of life, etc.
Music For Everyone gives a voice to the people who are most likely to be affected by the change in our nation’s leadership. Brett Newski’s song “I’m Paranoid” captures the distrust and tension that has spread across America through lyrics like “I don’t trust my neighbors, I don’t trust my boss, I don’t trust the water, I don’t trust the cops; I don’t trust the news, I don’t trust my food, and I don’t trust the white guys in suits.” Reading this, it may seem like an over exaggeration to the extent of American individualism, but realistically, the message is much bigger than the simple keep-to-yourself mentality Americans share. The song manages to bring light to a variety of issues including fracking, the concern about of labeling GMOs, police brutality, biased media outlets, and the domination of the 1%.
Another strong song on Music For Everyone that questions political intolerance is Secret Space’s “Point of Change.” The song wrestles with the ideology behind political change and even the issue regarding millennial’s voting negligence. In a rather cynical yet rhetorical way, the song continually asks the reader “what is the point of change?” Why should we try and achieve political change when most people are “stuck in their ways?” Most importantly, the song points out that the blame is not to be cast on others—our frustration at our fellow American’s intolerance of diversity should not be directed at them individually or at our leadership or even the opposing political party. “Who am I to blame? We are all in this the same.” Placing blame on, or retaliating against, an individual or a group because of their outward expression of intolerance does not help spread the message of tolerance. The main point of this song stresses the importance of breaking the cycle of negativity and alienation by exhibiting tolerance toward one’s persecutors.
Without a doubt, one of the most inspirational songs on Music For Everyone is James Dewees and John Nolan’s collaboration “Believe in Me.” The track focuses on the issues surrounding refugees, immigration, and the impression these individuals may have of Americans. When a stunning portion of the country, including the president, wants to shut and barricade the nation’s borders, a distinct message is expressed: “We don’t want you here!” Dewees and Nolan’s song tells a story from the point of view of a born and bred American watching this intolerance and encouraging people that, despite what the media may show, despite what’s considered to be the public’s opinion regarding immigrants, refugees, Muslims, racism, and sexism, you can believe in the individual. The song offers hope to those persecuted by discrimination and intolerance by expressing that those found in the unfortunate minority can have hope and believe in the fact that there are people who are fighting for their unalienable rights—the rights the United States believes should be granted to all people—which is the goal and driving ambition of the ACLU.
Music For Everyone is an incredibly well put together album with an even more powerful meaning. If you haven’t already visited the website, or if you have and were wary about purchasing the digital copy, doing so is highly recommended. As mentioned before, the album is available for purchase online for a minimum of $10, but if you feel the need or desire to give more to support an incredible cause, your contribution will be greatly appreciated.