Ever since 2016's worst nightmare became 2017's worst reality, it's been hard to keep our heads up and our hopes even medium low. On Tuesday morning, Lin-Manuel Miranda made a playlist titled "Rise Up, Eyes Up, Wise Up" on his day off to guide us through these trying times. A Spotify newbie, he learned how to master the streaming service... for the most part. When a fan gently tweeted that there was already a verified account for all his Hamilton, In The Heights, and Moana credits, he responded with, "I know I just started this one for fun and made you this so," punctuating with a shrug emoji. Bless him.
So what exactly did the master composer curate for "Rise Up, Eyes Up, Wise Up?" It very appropriately starts with "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" off the Hamilton Mixtape, a collab between K'NAAN, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente that repurposes Hamilton and Lafayette's line in "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)." It's a searing reminder that America is very much founded by immigrants facing persecution, and that our freedom, likewise, was fought for by immigrants. Considering the turmoil surrounding Donald Trump's refugee ban and the protests that have erupted in its wake, it's timely and poignant, all at once.
What else makes the list? 2008 indie mix CD mainstays The Decemberists pop up with "This Is Why We Fight" (which lyrically offers little explanation, but it's enough to rally regardless). Regina Spektor also makes an appearance with "Blue Lips," an exceptionally sad and sobering track that features such soul crushing lyrics as, "They made it past the enemy lines/Just to become enslaved in the assembly lines." The Mster Rogers remix of Andra Day's "Rise Up" is in the second half, nodding back to the playlist's title. And, for reasons I can't quite pinpoint, Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" is also featured in the 17-track collection. All the while, Miranda fits in more tracks off the Hamilton mix, including "My Shot" (an epic union of The Roots, Nate Ruess, Joell Ortiz, and Busta Rhymes).
Of course, it isn't uncharacterisitic for Miranda to use music as a way to heal and a way to inspire; it's sort of his professional and personal M.O. at this point. Who can forget how, in the midst of the inauguration, he posted Hamilton demos simply to comfort and calm down his frightened fans? So, while this latest act of sweetness isn't entirely out of character, it is very much appreciated... especially since he braved those murky Spotify waters.
In all seriousness, you can listen to "Rise Up, Eyes Up, Wise Up" below, or, at Miranda's urging, repurpose it for yourself if you want.