Funky sunshine playlist

MAGGIE QUINLAN, Evergreen reporter

Spring break is coming up and I know everybody is super excited to go back to the west side to catch coronavirus and redistribute it in Pullman.

Whenever I’m simultaneously excited and in panic about a potential pandemic, there’s one genre I can count on to pick me up.

We need the funk. Gotta have that funk. The band Parliament said it in 1975 and it’s still true.

Before you delve into this playlist, which, by the way, is 100% guaranteed to make you want to 1) shake that thing and 2) make the stank face… a quick history lesson.

From now on, when you think of funk, don’t think about bustin’ a move post-kegstand. Think of subversive messages from black counterculture leaders. If you don’t automatically think “funk equals challenging societal norms,” no worries; that’s what college is for.

Emerging during the Civil Rights Movement, funk wasn’t just about dancing. Greats like James Brown were unapologetically black. Brown sang “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” One of my favorite bands to lift a depressive veil was boldly named Slave.

Black musicians have always been more than entertainers. They have been revisionist historians and a voice for underrepresented people, Pennsylvania State University professor of Communications Kesha M. Morant wrote in her article, “Language in Action: Funk Music as the Critical Voice of a Post–Civil Rights Movement Counterculture.” 

Morant writes that, at funk’s height in the ‘70s and ‘80s, more apparent protest movements seemed to be in a lull. But funk offered a commentary that challenged dominant ideas with everyday experiences and pride.

It’s hard work as a self-identifying non-genius to describe the rhythmic artistry that defines funk, so I’m going to bail out and rely on this sick Prince quote: “If you can describe it, it ain’t funky.”

I’m no expert on the genre, but this playlist is my best effort to help you soothe your soul with the power of funk and funk-inspired bops. Have a blast this spring break.

“If You Want Me To Stay” – Sly & The Family Stone

“Pusherman” – Curtis Mayfield

“I Got Love” – Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder

“Ecstasy” – Ohio Players

“I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor

“P-Funk” – Parliament

“Don’t Let It Go to Your Head” – Jean Carne

“Just a Touch of Love” – Slave

“Message In Our Music” – The O’Jays

“Fish Ain’t Bitin’’ – Lamont Dozier

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” – Sylvester

“I’m In Love” – Evelyn “Champagne” King

“Happy” – Bobby Glover

“Automatic” – The Pointer Sisters

“Pull Up to the Bumper” – Grace Jones