2008 releases artists music politics and Jesse Dylan – Yes We Can

It’s no secret that I am absolutely intrigued by the US election race at the moment. For the first time in years, I’ve seen truly charismatic, presidential speeches from several candidates – particularly John McCain and Barack Obama.

Being a South African, currently living in Australia, I’m somewhat removed from having a self-serving partisan view to the elections, so I think that puts me in a unique position when it comes to discussing today’s post: and Jesse Dylan‘s song, “Yes We Can“, which was inspired by Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech in New Hampshire.


In short, I find the song (and speech, of course), nothing short of inspirational. Considering that Barack is already a Grammy winner, it should come as no surprise that I’ve always thought the man has a certain timbre to his voice that just strikes home with me. There’s something honest, something credible there… and all that is simply conveyed by voice.

At the Huffington Post, posted his reasons for recording the song. Here’s a short excerpt:

no one on this planet is truly experienced to handle the obstacles we face today…
Terror, fear, lies, agendas, politics, money, all the above…
It’s all scary…

Martin Luther King didn’t have experience to lead…
Kennedy didn’t have experience to lead…
Susan B. Anthony…
Nelson Mandela…
Rosa Parks…
Anne Frank…
and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today…

no one truly has experience to deal with the world today…

they just need “desire, strength, courage ability, and passion” to change…
and to stand for something even when people say it’s not possible…

The song’s video is a veritable ratpack of celebrities; just some of the names featured in the video include:
Jesse Dylan,, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon.

Enough about the backstory. What about the song? It’s inspiring. It’s what people need to hear. And it does what all good music should do: Inspires change. Of course, they had some pretty good material to work with.

Here’s the video:


The transcript is included in the video information.
When you hear those opening lines “It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation/Yes we can/It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom/Yes we can“, tell me it doesn’t inspire hope with a straight face. Go on. I dare ya.


I see that a lot of people are coming through to this entry, looking explicitly for the transcript of this video. So, to save you looking in the youtube entry for it, here it is below…


It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.


By Burgo

Once upon a time was in a band. Now writes (all too infrequently) about good music at Burgo's Music Blog; about personal musings at The Home of Matt Burgess; and about marketing at Conversation Media.

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