Singalong! Pa'lante by Hurray for the Riff Raff

I heard Hurray for the Riff Raff for the first time when they were the openers at a concert (honestly don't even remember which concert), and I was completely swept up in their spell. Their powerful, tragic, protest lyrics coming from Puerto Rican oppression are an intense and beautiful cry. There is a lot of infuriating stuff happening in the world right now, and my corner of the world is Canada where there is some intense colonial oppression rising to the forefront and so I needed to go back to this song. Pa'lante means forward.


PA'LANTE
by Hurray for the Riff Raff

Oh I just wanna go to work --
And get back home, and be something
I just wanna fall and lie --
And do my time, and be something
Well I just wanna prove my worth --
On the planet Earth, and be something
I just wanna fall in love
Not fuck it up, and feel something

Well lately, don’t understand what I am
Treated as a fool
Not quite a woman or a man
Well I don’t know
I guess I don’t understand the plan

Colonized, and hypnotized, be something
Sterilized, dehumanized, be something
Well take your pay
And stay out the way, be something
Ah do your best
But fuck the rest, be something

Well lately, it’s been mighty hard to see
Just searching for my lost humanity
I look for you, my friend
But do you look for me?

Lately I’m not too afraid, to die
I wanna leave it all behind
I think about it sometimes
Lately all my time’s been movin slow
I don’t know where I’m gonna go
Just give me time, I’ll know

Oh, any day now
Oh, any day now
I will come along
Oh, any day now
Oh, any day now
I will come along
I will come along

Dead Puerto Ricans who never knew they were Puerto Ricans
Who never took a coffee break from the 10th commandment
To kill, kill, kill
The landlords of their cracked skulls
And communicate with their Latin souls
Juan, Miguel, Milagros, Olga, Manuel
From the nervous breakdown streets where the mice live like millionaires
And the people do not live at all

From el barrio to Arecibo, ¡Pa’lante!
From Marble Hill to the ghost of Emmett Till, ¡Pa’lante!
To Juan, Miguel, Milagros, Manuel, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who came before, we say, ¡Pa’lante!
To my mother and my father, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To Julia, and Sylvia, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who had to hide, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who lost their pride, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who had to survive, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To my brothers, and my sisters, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
¡Pa’lante!
¡Pa’lante!
To all came before, we say, ¡Pa’lante!

Animated gif of young woman standing alongside a graffiti'd wall, looking like badasses. From a Hurray for the Riff Raff music video
Giphy


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