Written by Anna V. Eskamani
2018 was a hell of a year for us. Through blood, sweat, tears, and a whole lotta hustle, we flipped a State House seat from red to blue while creating leaders, building community, and inspiring change along the way.
Music has always been a major motivator for me. A medium to keep me calm in moments of stress, awake to finish late night assignments, and focused to get the job done. Here are five Albums that defined 2018 for me, albums that helped us reach the finish line on November 6, 2018.
Woodstock, by Portugal the Man
Feel It Still was playing in almost every House District 47 coffee shop, and I not only loved how the song sounded but I loved how it made me feel: upbeat, determined, and ready to fight. I started searching for the song online not knowing who the artist was, only to find it was the very popular Portugal the Man (in case you don’t know, I live under a rock devoid of pop culture). I bought the whole album and couldn’t stop listening to it for days. The album itself is made for a resistance generation, and while it has a mood for good trouble, songs like So Young subtly speak to the challenges faced by those of us who profess, “I’ll fight all my life.”
Cleopatra, by The Lumineers
I fell in love with this album during a girls’ trip to Austin when it first came out in 2016. My twin sister Ida and one of our best friends Natalie had the album on repeat as we drove through the hills of Texas, finding moments to pull over and take in the view. The album’s single of the same name is beautiful as it is painful, with the protagonist committed to die on time as she was, “late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life.” I see it as a poignant reminder to take risk, and follow your heart. I wouldn’t want to be late for the love of my life.
Drones, by Muse
I discovered the musical genius that is Muse late in life. Drones is a concept album that follows a soldier from abandonment to indoctrination as a "human drone" and then to eventual defection. The soldier’s complex journey from a follower who does what they’re told to a defector challenging the status quo was a storyline that I could relate to as a first time candidate.
With rock-orchestra interludes and even a JFK speech thrown into the mix, one of my favorite choruses ever comes from Revolt:
You’ve got strength
You’ve got soul
You’ve felt pain
You’ve felt love
You can grow (you can grow)
You can grow (you can grow)
You can make this world what you want
You can revolt
I And Love And You, by The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers and I go way back-- 2010 to be exact. It was a bad breakup in college that led me to find this Americana group and I’ve been hooked ever since. I And Love And You is sad as it is soulful, with simple lyrics and acoustic melodies of love, doubt, and hope. The risk to love is loss, and The Avett Brothers always remind you that love is a risk worth taking.
The Navigator, by Hurray for the Riff Raff
Alynda Lee Segarra, the force behind Hurray for the Riff Raff, is the epitome of the personal being political. An artist of queer and immigrant identities, Segarra crafted The Navigator to be a rock album infused with folk, combined with elements of Puerto Rican bomba and salsa, and spoken-word poetry. Segarra’s voice carries us through various experiences of the Puerto Rican diaspora, on that the artist knows very intimately. You hear pain as Segarra sings about parts of their cultural identity being appropriated by others, and pure power when the artist proclaims Pa’lante at the end; calling out the names of other figures who have been impacted by discrimination and white supremacy, uniting us all in struggle.
Here’s to taking risk, finding hope, and falling in love. Here’s to the music that moved me and you in 2018, and to the New Year ahead. Onward.
Anna V. Eskamani is an Orlando native, feminist, and newly elected State House Representative serving the great people of District 47. When she's not fighting for Floridians everywhere, you can find her taking portrait-mode photos of her cats, reading short poems, and teaching the power of empathy to anyone who will listen. She's an Iranian-American by birth, and a lover of Americana by choice.