“What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye)

Solidarity with the “mother” and the “brother,” and a conversation with the (Black?/White?) figure of the “father,” to whom it is recommended: “only love can conquer hate.” But whose hate? White supremacists or those with “picket signs”? Deeply ambiguous referents either signal a deceleration of youth protest or call for White understanding or both. A track, then, that everyone likes, featuring a double dispersal of the political.


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“With Arms Wide Open” (Creed)

Grammy-winning natal futurism. Hopeful father on birth day envisions the difference that will come, in time, alongside subjectivity unfettered by hate. Title’s prelude to a hug also foreshadows enclosure: education through smothering. The singer’s “one wish”: the son doesn’t turn out “like me.” In love with (tortured) creation.

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