The ABC original miniseries When We Rise is taking an ambitious look at the LGBT rights movement as it existed from the late 1960s to the present era. It shines a light on a rarely shown movement in history, and the eclectic When We Rise soundtrack is a fitting companion to the wide-spanning series. The soundtrack collects original covers of classic songs that accompany the series as it travels through the '70s, '80s, and '90s. These songs help anchor the series in whatever time period it's covering at any given time, while also twisting the songs to give them a new meaning in the context of the story itself.
The soundtrack to the ABC miniseries features contributions from several rising LGBT performers and serves up mostly faithful renditions of classic songs. It captures the energy, the pain, and the hope that propelled the LGBT rights movement into the mainstream and is a fitting companion to the series, but this 10-song collection is strong enough to stand entirely on its own. The soundtrack is currently available on Spotify, iTunes, and other music platforms. Here's a taste of what you can expect from the mini-series soundtrack.
Jordan Fisher — "I'd Love To Change The World"
Fisher, currently starring on Broadway in Hamilton, contributes a cover of the song "I'd Love To Change The World." Originally released in 1971 by rock band Ten Years Later, the song is a blues-inspired call to action to bring forth a much-needed change. The song actually appears twice on the soundtrack, covered later on by Shea Diamond, which goes to show it serves as the central thesis of the entire series.
Fancy Hagood — "California"
Joni Mitchell's Blue is one of the greatest albums of all time, and has gone on to inspire almost every album that came after in one way or another. When We Rise takes the anti-war anthem "California" and allows Fancy Hagood, the creative force behind pop project Who Is Fancy?, to lend his voice to Mitchell's classic. This love letter to the 1970s West Coast lifestyle describes the world the characters of When We Rise inhabit, where the hopes and dreams of the artists of California were often overshadowed by the world being in a constant state of war. It's a light song with heavy themes, and Hagood manages to do the track justice by not straying too far from the original.
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein ft. Christine Aprile — "Good Times"
Possibly the least-expected cover of any song ever, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein team up with vocalist Christine Aprile to create an airy, ethereal cover of the disco anthem "Good Times." The original song, performed by Chic, is a high-energy party anthem, in stark contrast to the slowed-down synth version on the When We Rise soundtrack. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, best known for creating the iconic soundtrack to Stranger Things, do their best to retain the funky spirit of the original while slowing it down and sprinkling in some melancholy.
When We Rise is a series about rebellion and the idea that with enough work the world can truly become a better place. The series' soundtrack matches those feelings perfectly, providing updated versions of classic anthems meant to score the continued fight for LGBT rights.