Boston Strong Music Project

Boston Strong Album of the Month

After the tragic Boston Marathon Bombings, Emersonian Isabel Thottam (Screenwriting and Entrepreneurial Studies ’12) organized the Boston Strong Music Project. The compilation is 41 songs by local musicians to not only help the people of Boston heal emotionally, but physically as well. All of the proceeds from The Boston Strong Music Project go directly to One Fund.

Thottam has been working to help people heal through music with her organization, Hold On Another Day. The organization has provided a place of ease for people who find themselves struggling with depression, bullying, and PTSD by creating compilations and allowing people to share their stories on their website. When the Boston Marathon bombings occurred, Thottam used her experience to get local artists to lighten the uneasiness a bit with shared sadness and pride for the city of Boston.

Each song was created with such intimacy and good will that the entire compilation is worth hearing. The Boston Strong Project wound up attracting 20 artists, creating 20 songs (some recorded here in the WERS studio). Many vary greatly in style, but all have the same intention of healing.

Will Dailey provided one of the opening tracks, “Peace of Mind”, in which came off of his 2009 album, Torrent Volumes 1 & 2, but seemed to fit perfectly for the context of the situation. Dailey sings, “Torn and tired and broken up when some by God and some by the gun, rush to kill another mother’s son with modern law, with no modern love”. This particular track was powerful in the way that it portrayed the confusion in such a situation and showed some of the human side by describing the anger that comes with it all. As Dailey’s soothing voice and strumming carries the song along, everything seems to make sense.

“This Road” by Air Traffic Controller is a song that represents the process in which it takes to remember and move on to the rest of your life. It takes a road leading in and out of a city to symbolize everything that this city has offered you, the best and the worst, as it describes everything this “road” has seen you do. It is the hope that pulls it all together, “And if the sun refuses to shine, well you can make your headlights brighter, and don’t you pull over, and don’t you get off this road”. Then, the violin comes through, building up and causing an overwhelming feeling of positivity. As a live track, Air Traffic Controller used the opportunity to use the charms of the swelling instruments and voice to make this something special for the compilation. For a topic so sensitive and powerful, the raw emotional nature of the live track felt appropriate.

Amanda Palmer contributed the track ‘Massachusetts Avenue” in which she uses a synth to bounce through a song of strength. Her staccato verses lead up to a booming chorus. Sighting the beauty of the springtime and fall on Storrow Drive and all of the unique memories you have within this city, she makes the point, “You don’t have to go home in a straight line, you don’t have to go home at all”. Palmer seems to use her ability to get a little aggressive with her point, to push through some of the fear that everyone harbored at the tie of the bombings, and move forward. She might have even gotten you to dance a little. “Massachusetts Avenue” is a reminder of how no one should be afraid to live on life in such a place.

Ballroom Thieves with “Coward’s Son” added the power of a solid folk song to the mix. The song is focused much on what one has to do independently to get through struggle. It is a simple song instrumentally, but the conviction vocally is what makes the song what it is. The lower textured vocals stay pretty consistent until a point in which they get higher and rushed with intensity as crashing guitars and harmonizing vocals chime in. Ballroom Thieves gave a refreshing perspective to a situation in which everyone had been tiring out in thought.

This compilation is a symbol of the compassionate nature of Boston. To see such a group of local musicians and organizers pull together, to make something so thoughtful and vulnerable shows true strength.

By visiting the Boston Strong Music Project website and donating $1 or more, you can purchase Boston Strong Music Project and help Boston Marathon bombing victims in need with One Fund.

By Lauren Moquin

If you liked this, check out:
“Optica” by the Shout Out Louds
“The Next Day” by David Bowie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <iframe width="" height="" frameborder="" scrolling="" marginheight="" marginwidth="" src="">