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From Manchin to Meta, this 'Sound Summary' breaks down 2021 — in song

The ReidOut Blog's year-end "Sound Summary" is a 2021 playlist that will help describe this wild year we've all experienced .
Photo illustration of an abortion rights advocate outside of the Supreme Court; the riot at the Capitol; and President Joe Biden.
Chelsea Stahl / MSNBC; Getty Images; Reuters

What a year this has been! It was a year of gains, losses and a lot of uncertainty, and it's been a pleasure sharing thoughts with you all during these first few months of the ReidOut Blog.

As you know by now, I very often think in song — so it's only right for me to end the year with another Sound Summary playlist that captures the essence of all we've experienced over the past year.

In the next year, we'll all do more, and do better. Let's go higher! But without further ado: Sound Summary 2021.

Fading hopes for police reform: "No Peace" by Salaam Remi

I can’t think of a song that better describes the past year of policing. In 2020, many believed the United States was undergoing a reformation, and turning away from its legacy of violent and robust anti-Black policing. That sentiment has mostly evaporated, with some local police budgets growing even larger in 2021. This is a protest song for the occasion. 

The Biden debate: "Just Be Good To Me" by S.O.S. Band

In some regards, 2021 has been a good year for President Joe Biden. He’s stabilized the economy, helped make coronavirus vaccines widely available, and passed his bipartisan infrastructure bill. But work remains: Passing the Build Back Better Act, voting rights legislation, and police reform legislation are necessities if the president wants to claim success. This song is a reminder for the Biden administration to honor its promises to Black voters in 2022. 

Centrist Democrats impersonating Republicans: "Baby Elephant Walk" by Harry Mancini

Harry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk” is the perfect song for two conservative Democrats — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Ariz., and Sen. Joe Manchin, W.V. — who are currently stifling the Biden administration’s social spending and voting rights plans. They’ve behaved like Republicans this year. This song is dedicated to them. 

America's housing crisis continues: "Bed Stuy is Burning" by Skyzoo

With housing prices skyrocketing this year, and the prospect of owning a home drifting further out of reach for many Americans, Skyzoo’s song about gentrification is a great encapsulation of the current dilemma. 

Conservatives' proud ignorance: "Hate" by Jay Z and Kanye West

This one doesn't need much explanation. The conservative figures across the country attempting to outlaw lessons about America's history of inequality are literal haters.

The ongoing pandemic; "Deja Vu" by Dionne Warwick

I’m proudly vaxxed and boosted, so I’ve been able to enjoy a few more outings this year than last — but the pandemic ain’t done with us yet. This song truly captures the energy of a year that feels a bit like the last. 

Facebook mischief: "Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai

Facebook’s continued meddling in our lives has made some us go mad — diving down rabbit holes in search of health and politics-related conspiracy theories. Jamiroquai was prescient with this one. Some “Virtual Insanity” for your airwaves. 

Court rulings: "Can't Wait" by Sleepy Brown

This song captures the anxiousness we've all experienced waiting for court rulings to be handed down throughout the year. So much about America's future seemed to hang in the balance this year, and we can rest assured that trend won't let up in 2022.