Music/Popular Culture

Saturday Video Roundup: Wherefore art all the protest songs?

And now for something slightly different

Shadowproof posted Let us never ask where the protest music has gone ever again.

Kevin Gosztola, a Firedoglake alumnus, raises a cultural dilemma and proposes his own solution.

There is a recurring story media organizations like to publish. The story typically asks where all the protest music has gone or something like that. Or, the writers ask, who is this generation’s Bob Dylan?

This perspective has seeped into the consciousness of Americans. One thread on Reddit asked:

With all the racial and class tension in the past year or two, I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been much in the way of protest songs. At least not that I’ve heard. My generation had Rage Against the Machine (whose lyrics seem even more relevant today). What artist is carrying their torch today?

As he points out in the article, which you should by all means read for the rest of the pertinent details on how to contact them, and/or to get involved, we seem to have an ironic capitalist notion that There Can Be Only One primary protest voice, and that voice must speak to us all, for us all. Mr. Gosztola wishes to put that notion to bed with his new Protest Music Project. Further, over time he will be showcasing musical protest talents published by Tom Morello’s (of Rage Against the Machine fame) new label, Firebrand Records, as well as music submitted by readers and artists.

To get the ball rolling, Mr. Gosztola offers up “The Magic Clap” by The Coup. When I first tripped across his article, it was by way of a Facebook post where “The Guillotine” by The Coup was posted, so let’s start with that one, instead, and you can click over to Shadowproof for a handy link to “The Magic Clap,” featuring Patton Oswalt.

The aforementioned Facebook post solicited protest song suggestions, as well. Being the angsty 90’s kid post-punk rivethead I was (and try to keep dusted off from day to day), I couldn’t resist leaving behind a couple of my own suggestions, starting with KMFDM’s “Not in My Name.”

And being the oldschool lover of Jello Biafra and The Dead Kennedys that I am, I also shared Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine’s Shock-U-Py.

Lastly, because I just love me some Ozzy and am beyond thrilled that Black Sabbath released 13 just two years ago (already???) as though they never stopped rockin’, I offered up “God is Dead?” The video, if a bit marketing heavy, removes any doubt as to what their putative proof of God’s existence is, earning it a solid place among modern protest music.

Other commenters dropped references to Immortal Technique, Jasiri X, The Angie Haze Project, Desaparecidos, Thievery Corporation, NC Music Love Army, Laibach, and yeah, pretty much anything punk, hardcore, and industrial at one level or another.

And with all that, I’ll leave you two more of my own. First, Front Line Assembly with “Victim of a Criminal.”

Finally, with a huge tip o’ the hat to Tom Morello and his new effort at Firebrand Records, my all time favorite Rage Against the Machine track, “Killing in the Name.”

By all means, click over to Shadowproof and participate where your suggestions will make a difference to them and their grassroots readership, but by all means let us know what you contribute here in the comments as well.

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