Soon after the presidential election, Val Emmich wrote and recorded an urgent anthem called “It’s All Right (No!).”
“What a single day can do, to strip away all the ground we laid,” he sang. “Will it now go to waste?”
He then ended the song by asking, repeatedly, “What are we going to do about it?”
“It’s All Right (No!)” is one of 68 tracks — mostly but not exclusively by Jersey artists, mostly written in direct reaction to Donald Trump’s election, and representing styles ranging from folk to metal — on Rock Against Hate, a benefit compilation that is being released today. Proceeds will go The Trevor Project (which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to young members of the LGBTQ community) and Planned Parenthood. For information, visit rockagainsthate.org.
“In the aftermath of a very divisive election, and the unfortunate increase in hate crimes that happened in its wake, I reached out to my friends about doing something positive,” said Lazlo of BlowUpRadio.com, who curated Rock Against Hate. “Since my friends happen to be musicians, a compilation to benefit some worthy causes seemed the best course of action.”
Highlights include ”Disillusioned Blues,” an explosive anthem, reminiscent of Neil Young’s “Rockin in the Free World,” by Diego Allessandro & Lot 25; Lifeguard Nights’ alarmed but still gracefully melodic “Dire Straits”; Keith Monacchio’s tender immigrants’ tale “The Courageous Getaway of Ciro & Madelina Fuentos”; and Zak Smith’s anguished ballad, “Awake in the Flood.”
The overall mood is chilling, as in Brett Fuentes’ “Thought Police,” or inspirational, as in Jon Caspi and the First Gun’s “Don’t Bend.” Catherine Wacha’s “Chump” was recorded live at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport; Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band are featured on DownTown Mystic’s “Way to Know.”
That’s just a tiny bit of what Rock Against Hate has to offer, though. Sixty-eight songs is a lot of songs, and the fact that this came together so quickly is one of the indications of just how much distress artists are feeling, right now, given the political climate.