“What About Us” by Pink mirrors the pain and grief of many Americans who feel abandoned and unheard by today’s society. This song sheds an important light on the political issues that are faced everyday, especially those who struggle with their sexuality, skin color, or sexual orientation. Even though the meaning behind the song can mean many other different things, I believe the song shines a light on these important issues. In an interview with Billboard, co-writer Johnny McDaid was asked the meaning of the song. McDaid explains, “Explaining what a song is about is kind of a dangerous thing for me because it takes away the possibility of a song becoming whatever it is to somebody that listens to it. From my perspective the creation of it is about looking into yourself, interacting.” 


For this second listening assignment, I want to focus on the lineage regarding the fight for equality and acceptance. 


Pa’lante by Hurray for the Riff Raff, 2017—->America by Logic ft. Black Thought, Chuck D, Big Lenbo, & No I.D., 2017—->Revolution by the Beatles, 1968


“Pa’lante” by Hurray for the Riff Raff is an alternative/indie folk song that was released in 2017. This song was a response to the action and cry of solidarity for minorities during Trump’s presidency. The songwriter tells the story through the people of Puerto Rico which offers a glimpse of life after Hurricane Maria. As a cry for help, the artist wanted to showcase talent of color, and by people of color which was important to the artist that there was a diverse production when making the song. Within the song’s lyrics, I believe it connects to “What About Us” because both songs exemplify the importance of equality. Another important thing to note, both songs were produced around the same year which also sheds light on the attention of Trump’s presidency. The lyrics below show a clip of Pa’lante and how it shines on the lack of empathy within poor citizens and minorities.


Colonized, and hypnotized, be something

Sterilized, dehumanized, be something

Well take your pay

And stay out the way, be something

Ah, do your best

But fuck the rest, be something

Well lately, it’s been mighty hard to see

Just searching for my lost humanity

I look for you, my friend

But do you look for me?


The second song that I felt connected to “What About Us” is “America” by Logic featuring other known rappers. Both songs outline politics as well as the problem of inequality in America. This song was also produced in 2017 which was the same year Pink released “What About Us”. Logic speaks out about what it means to be a citizen in American society in 2017. The song strings together multiple commentaries from different artists regarding current social, economic, and political issues in the U.S. Not only does the song represent those important issues, but also shines a light on issues such as white supremacy, gun violence, the Flint water crisis, and the negative opinions about Trump’s presidency. The lyrics below show a strong message in “America” which I believe connects to Pink’s song in many different ways.


Fight the power, fight the power

Fight for the right to get up and say fuck white power

Everybody come and get up, get on

And no matter what you fighting for I promise that it’ll live on

Like make America great again

Make it hate again

Make it white

Make everybody fight


The third song I want to focus on is the famous rock/pop song “Revolution” by the Beatles released in 1968. I decided to use this song as an example because I think it sheds similar qualities compared with Pink’s song. “Revolution” was inspired by the political protests in early 1968. John Lennon expressed empathy for the need of social change within America. Lennon found it compelling to spread his views regarding the war even though many told him to keep his views to himself. Lennon explains in an interview, “I wanted to put out what I felt about revolution, I thought it was about time we spoke about it, the same as I thought it was about time we stopped not answering about the Vietnamese war when we were on tour with Brian Epstein (his manager at the time) and had to tell him, ‘We’re going to talk about the war this time and we’re not going to just waffle’…That’s why I did it: I wanted to talk. I wanted to say my piece about revolutions. I wanted to tell you, or whoever listens, to communicate, to say, ‘What do you say? This is what I say.” Even though the two songs were created in different eras and have different contexts, both songs share the importance of courage and freedom of speech. These two artists weren’t afraid to have their voices heard and both wanted to advocate for the importance of all people.