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Protest/Political songs


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After browsing the latest Boo Poll on protest music I've decided to ask what's everyone's favourite examples of this type of music? Any less "obvious" examples?

off the top of my head...

Shipbuilding - Elvis Costello

Ohio - CSN&Y

For What it's worth - Buffalo Springfield (Public Enemy's "update" a couple of years back - "He got game" was also pretty good)

Killing in the name of - RATM

This land is your land - Woody Guthrie

Masters of War - Bob Dylan

Ball of confusion (That's what the world is today) - The Temptations

Fear of a black planet - Public Enemy

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Behind Enemy Lines - The Global Cannibal

Lynched - Carlo Giuliani

in fact, im gonna stop now or I'll get carried away

Importing oil exporting blood

Well take their barrels of oil by the barrel of a gun

Importing capital, exporting death

Well keep dropping our bombs until theres none of them left

We dont need actual evidence to seal a nations fate

just the promise of profit that their resources create

Unleashing our forces to preserve the American dream

by tapping their oil reserves to run our machines

We rule this world

We answer to no one

Weve used the U.N. in the past to legitimize our crimes

but if they wont stand with us now, then fuck them

We are the most powerful empire this world has ever seen

and well have you either on your knees or under our heel

Well force you to disarm while our fingers on the button

to continue our reign as the worlds biggest gluttons

War propaganda plagues our country

American perception is not reality

Our leaders have a war mentality

Were living in a war mentality

We feed on fear

We prey on weakness

We drop bombs on people in the name of freedom

We shower civilians with shells of depleted uranium

We want you disarmed

so you cant resist us

when we liberate your land for American interests

The companies anxiously await their sound investment

War propaganda plagues our country

American perception is not reality

Our leaders have a war mentality

Were living in a war mentality

We devour it all

Were the global cannibal

With the brits by our side well bomb them back into the Stone Age

to punish them for how uncivilized they are

Our superiority and first-world arrogance

entitle us to the double standards

elevating ourselves above criticism and consequence

and justifying anticipatory self defense

We see through your lies

You can stand on your own

Were not with the terrorists,

were not with you and were not alone

Youre spilling blood to make oilmen richer

and redeem daddy for his miserable failure

but the people youre killing, have a right to exist

We cant let in come to this

War propaganda plagues our country

American perception is not reality

Our leaders have a war mentality

Were living in a war mentality

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Could be one of hundreds, but I think I'd probably have to go with IfwhiteAmericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfa llapart (thought it deserved its full title), by Manic Street Preachers.

Lyrics are a great summing up of white American culture, the guitars are brutal and the way the solo sounds half like a ripping solo and half like a national anthem is particularly clever.

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Blood For Oil - Sonic Boom Six

Overcome (The Recapitulation) and In All Rwanda's Glory - RX Bandits

Uri Geller Bent My Heart - Lightyear

& take your pick of Antimaniax songs. Personal favourites include In Front of Our Eyes & Suit, Tie, Cash

Also, not so much a protest song but What's Going On? by Zebrahead is a great tune addressing and questioning issues in American society such as drugs and gun crime.

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Guest bluesxman

California Uber Alles - Dead Kennedys

God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols

Sheep Farming In The Falklands/How Does It Feel (To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead?) - Crass

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Could be one of hundreds' date=' but I think I'd probably have to go with IfwhiteAmericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfa llapart (thought it deserved its full title), by Manic Street Preachers.

Lyrics are a great summing up of white American culture, the guitars are brutal and the way the solo sounds half like a ripping solo and half like a national anthem is particularly clever.[/quote']

That one would've been on the list but I couldn't be arsed typing it all out properly! Hat's off to you sir!:up:

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I don't really like any politically based songs for that reason. There are some things religion and or politics shouldnt be part of.

I've never understood this. I think that, if done tastefully and properly, music can be the best form of making a stand on certain issues, and a great way of getting your message across. If the song is a total cheese-fest then i'd tend to agree with you.

To answer the question;

Chris T-T's 9 Red Songs album is fantastic !

But i believe Bob Dylan to be the absolute master of the genre (Masters of War, The Times They Are A Changin, The Hurricane, With God On Our Side et al)

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Most refused songs, most propagandhi songs, a good few million dead songs.

best has to be "i am the party" by million dead - a song about politics "taking the piss" out of politcial bands :

" Well you can tell by the way I move my feet that I’m a genuine insurrectionary - it’s a kind of nervous shuffle that contrasts so well with Bolshevik bravado. And you can tell by the way I raise my hand - not in a fist but for a question. Take out your manifestos and then put them away. I implore you to ignore every word I say. And if my status as a figure on a stage implies authority, I hope my caution and my age belies my humility, and will to take my rage and try to turn myself into a one-man landslide. Let’s kick it off with a leafleting campaign and follow it up with some public meetings, pressing flesh and kissing babies as I smile and promise things are getting better. I am the party, the apparatchik and the grey bureaucracy. I am the secret police, manufacturing a constituency that doesn’t answer back. I found these words in my bedroom underneath old magazines. And I found this voice in my record collection - distorting tapes kicked analysis awake. You found this song but you didn’t question - swallowed the sleeve but didn’t see my tongue inside my cheek. I am the Politburo, but I am the Velvet Revolution, a Budapest kick from fifty-six and so: let’s all go hand in hand to the local polling station and make our own categories, then vote for ourselves."

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has no-one mentioned Pink Floyd yet?

BRICK IN THE WALL. there, i said it.

and also Refuseds` "Worms of Senses/Faculty of the Skull"

and of course most Beattles` songs.

EDIT: Refused...and i didn't even read the two previous posts...

and a few others such as Bad Religion and BLINK-182 (don`t believe me? go listen to Anthem. teenage rebellion right there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Oh Yeah, Bad Religion for sure - They are the daddies in my eyes.

Rage Against The Machine, Sick of it All (Their name says it all!), Agnostic Front ("Gulliani Gulliani Gulliani fuck you Gulliani Gulliani Gulliani fuck you.........Die!" - to the point!) Fugazi (although I've always found it's the music I dig more than lyrical content)......

For a folkier sound, I can't agree more that Masters of War is the top dog. Has anyone heard the Pearl Jam version? I think it was only on a bootleg. I'm not really a fan of them (subjected to them by my brothers) but it sent shivers down my spine.

Any local "protest writers"? I cringe when using that title after seeing that Bob Dylan Documentary recently....

I wouldn't dare attempt it given my lack of political understanding (and basic lack of songwriting ability!).

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has no-one mentioned Pink Floyd yet?

BRICK IN THE WALL. there' date=' i said it.

and also Refuseds` "Worms of Senses/Faculty of the Skull"

and of course most Beattles` songs.

EDIT: Refused...and i didn't even read the two previous posts...

and a few others such as Bad Religion and BLINK-182 (don`t believe me? go listen to Anthem. teenage rebellion right there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)[/quote']

eh? what beattles' songs? there is a tiny minority of protest/political songs. socially aware songs maybe, but even those are rare in the Beatles back catologue.

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eh? what beattles' songs? there is a tiny minority of protest/political songs. socially aware songs maybe' date=' but even those are rare in the Beatles back catologue.[/quote']

Revolution in it's various forms was at times an unclear reflection of the 1968 political unrest due to issues like Vietnam and racism. Blackbird was supposed to be about the black rights issue.

But most of them in solo forms have produced some... Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" Harrison's "Bangladesh" although mostly without any merit especially in 1971/72 e.g. Lennon's Sometime In New York City LP and Macca's Give Ireland Back To The Irish. McCartney also had he recent that appalling 9/11 reaction effort with the Freedom single.

I don't really think that pop/rock stars are that good or successful at real protest songs as they seldom actually truly understand the issues or offer any solutions. Although I'm aware of a lot of issues due to songs and attitudes of my favourite artists e.g. Vietnam, Apartheid, Third World poverty. Whether that's influenced me in my opinion or do do something about those issues is a different matter.

Plus the acutual songs are usually mince (see Freedom above). Some good "songs" to add to some mentioned earlier in a message vein though:

Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi (globalisation)

Neil Young's Alabama and Southern Man about the American South's racist attitudes

Lynyrd Skynyrd fantastically commercial though potential controversial answer in Sweet Home Alabama "Montgomery had the answer..." I still don't know what to make of it mainly due to that line.

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