Voices of Our Vote is a new compliation album featuring “32 politically empowering tracks by an eclectic mix of Asian American musicians.” Presented by activist group 18MillionRising in partnership with Kollaboration, Traktivist, Tuesday Night Project, and Mishthi, the collection of diverse tunes aims to inspire Asian Americans to vote in the upcoming elections. The album’s release coincides with the #MyAAPIVote campaign, “encouraging AAPIs using forward thinking digital tactics and culture-shifting online tools to get people out to vote” and the VoterVox program, which connects voters with registration resources and ballot translations.
The album is available for purchase at VoicesofOurVote.org on a name-your-price basis. Proceeds from album sales will be donated to 18MillionRising.
I’ve given the album four good listens (and one slightly distracted one), and can recommend at least taking it for a spin. It is quite an “eclectic mix,” especially if your tastes lean toward hip-hop, contemporary folk, and R&B. Pickings are slim if you’re more of a rocker, but there are a couple of tracks here that may fit your groove.
Highlights for me:
- Connie Lim, “Won’t Give Up the Fight.” A pretty, soulful, positive-vibe, poppy adult contemporary number. Think Susie Suh meets Sara Bareilles, with moaning-into-the-note vocal.
- Priska, “Don’t Go Quietly.” My favorite vocal on the compliation, and my favorite lyrics, too: “Tell them the truth about what you’ve seen / All the way from Galilee / Tell them the truth about what you’ve seen / And don’t go quietly into the night.” Think Sarah McLachlan after a few drinks, with an acoustic guitar and just enough harmonica to make you want to call your ex.
- Ann One featuring Yoonmirae and Rocky Rivera, “Watch Yo Mouth.” This is a sweet downtempo, bass-drums hip-hop track with a teeny bit of a G-Funk whistle and some tasteful scratching. Think A Tribe Called Quest with a little bit of Fergie-flavored M.I.A. The beat here is really nice.
- J. Han, “Shalom” (feat. John Givez). Mellow-groove, party hip-hop. Think Nelly after a full-body massage.
- Daniel Park, “You Never Know.” Upbeat, boy-band-style pop with a super-singable melody and a slight island vibe. Remember the first time you heard One Direction’s “One Thing” and you couldn’t get that “get out, get out, get outta my head” lyric out of your head? This song could have the same effect, so be careful. It’s freaking infectious.
- Samantha Mendoza, “Can We Be.” Eighties-style slow soul disco, like the Deniece Williams track you save for night-cruising with the windows up and the air-conditioner on full blast.
- Ruth Sanga, “Lovin’ Understanding.” You know how Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” sounds fully in the 2010s but also feels like you should be hearing it at the roller rink in the Seventies? That’s this song, with a funky-groovy Commodores-style groove and guitar solo (guitar solo? what’s that?) and sweet-little-girl lead vocals. Somebody listen to this and tell me in the comments who this singer reminds me of. It’s driving me crazy.
- Awaaz Do, “From Darkness.” The album’s closing track begins with a southeast Asian, slidey melody, then adds a few layers before transitioning into a nice, 2010s metallic progression with California psycho-surf tones, like Lacuna Coil mashed up with slower Dengue Fever. The production on this track is really nice, too.
Some of the album’s promotional material says, “turning out to vote as an Asian American community this November 8th is more important than ever.” I can’t agree with this sentiment because I’m old enough to be voting in my eighth presidential election, so I know that this is what people say every four years. However, voting is important, perhaps our most important responsibility as citizens, so I applaud the efforts of these musicians and the cooperating organizations. Whatever your political inclinations or ethnic background, get registered and get to the polls; voting is the kind of privilege that gets taken away from those who don’t exercise it by those who do exercise it, and that’s not what any of our moms, dads, and grandparents, wherever they might have come from, had in mind when they came to this country.
I’m down with any effort that strives for greater participation in our democratic process. Give the album a listen, check out the linked websites, and then drop a few bucks for a good cause.