For my podcast, I will be focusing on the song “The Village” by Wrabel. Released as a single in 2017, the song is a response to bigotry against people in the LGBTQ+ community. More specifically, the lyrics deal with some of the more challenging facets of the trans experience in our culture. One thing that’s challenging about the song is that is weaves in the difficulty of being queer and being brought up in the Church and the added religious bigotry that accompanies more general attitudes regarding LGBTQ+ people. My primary reason for wanting to learn more about this song is that it applies to a lot of my own life experiences, and it was also written and subsequently released in response to two actions taken by the Trump administration that negatively impact trans people. In this way, my own experiences can be compared and contrasted to the ones that are highlighted in the song.

This song is a protest song in that it directly opposes negative views of LGBTQ+ people that are reinforced by both the law and the Church. Many people have been taught that queerness is inherently wrong, and this song flips that idea and insists that the wrongness lies in “the village,” not in the people who are ostracized from it.

I think there’s a lot of opportunity for further research regarding this song. Wrabel has been explicit about the political events that inspired the song, which provides a specific avenue of conversation for a topic that informs his music. There’s also already a rich history of queer music, and it’s likely that Wrabel has taken inspiration from other artists and songs in creating this one. If I needed to zoom out further, I could research the effects and achievements of other LGBTQ+ music in our culture and what effect it’s had in unifying people and opposing unjust laws or social practices.

Aside from being a gorgeous song at its surface level, the song is something that would’ve helped me immensely if it had been released at the time I was coming out and just starting to deal with the subsequent complications. The song is important because it provides a reprieve for people who might be told by people in their lives that who they are is bad or wrong, and this song earnestly insists that these things aren’t true. While “The Village” is overall a fairly somber and emotional piece, there’s also a hope to it that I think is really important in protest music. We can acknowledge our suffering and validate it while simultaneously looking forward to a better time or even reflecting on the past and seeing how things have changed in the present. The arrangement of the song is simple in the fact that a lot of it is stripped back to just vocals and a few instruments, but there’s also a complexity in the choruses, and of course a complexity in the way the song interacts with history, so I don’t think it’s a song I’ll get tired of.

A concern I do have is that the song will lose its emotional potency for me, even if I do still appreciate it sonically by the end of the project. My hope is that because it cuts to something that’s so deep-rooted I’ll still be able to appreciate the catharsis I currently feel while listening to it, but it’s definitely on my radar as a potential concern. I also know that Wrabel isn’t an immensely popular artist and finding more information on him or the song’s creation might prove to be a struggle, but because it exists in a lineage of LGBTQ+ music and because at this initial stage I already have at least some knowledge regarding this particular song’s history, I think I’ll be able to make it work.