Music for a Generation: 11 Protest Songs for the Now

During the 1960’s music was a large part of the protest movements happening at the time. It was all about going up against “the man”. That was just part of the history of the ‘genre’ of protest music. While some may disagree, the genre is alive and well today and Rock Cellar Magazine (RCM) have composed a list of 11 songs which are still fighting the good fight.

1. PJ Harvey – The Glorious Land

The Glorious Land is just one of many songs full of socio-political commentary on Harvey’s 2011 album Let England Shake, but RCM specifically chose it for its condemnation of the military.

2. TV on the Radio – No Future Shock

This song is a rarity. It manages to be both potent with its message while remaining something that you can dance to.

3. Nona Hyndryx – The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh

Nona Hendryx has been going for over 60 years and during that long career she has often caused controversy with her socio-political commentary. This song is no different as she attacks everything from corporate greed to the Gulf oil spills and, obviously, Rush Limbaugh, the man she blames for it all.

4. Hank Williams Jr. – Takin’ Back Our Country

Hank Williams Jr. forms part of a protest movement which hits out at immorality and “anti-patriots”. In Takin’ Back Our Country he certainly touches on these points but takes a specific swipe at Obama who he tells to “head to Chicago.”

5. Everlast – I Get By

This song should be well known to anyone who followed the Occupy Movement closely as it was often utilised by them during their protests. It’s a hard-hitting song which is all about being anti-authoritarian and being on the side of the under-represented.

6. The db’s – Revolution of the Mind

Another song which could be adopted as a theme song for the Occupy Movement. The db’s released it as a single and gave it away for free; clearly wanting as many people to have it as possible and maybe even feel the powerful message of the lyrics.

7. Ry Cooder – No Banker Left Behind

Ry Cooder was one of the first artists to be inspired by the Occupy Movement and crafted his album, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down around the events on Wall Street. RCM hails it as one of the most authentic protest albums in recent years.

8. Anti-Flag – The Economy is Suffering; Let It Die

Punk band Anti-Flag has been around with their anti-authoritarian music since 1988. In 20 years nothing has changed and this song on the economic crisis summarised the situation perfectly for many people.

9. Nanci Griffith – Hell No

While Hell No sounds like a song meant for the angry broken hearted, people identified with the song on a different level and have adopted it as something of a protest anthem.

10. Tom Morello The Nightwatchman – Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine

RCM point out that Tom Morello is regarded as “the patron saint of the Occupy movement.” That isn’t overstating his position at all. For years he has been the voice of protestors all around the world whether it be with his solo work, or his work with Rage Against the Machine where many of the songs addressed human rights.

11. Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care of Our Own

While some might argue that Bruce has earned far too much money over his lengthy career to still be a part of the real-world, he still manages to voice the issues facing the everyday working man.


View the full article and videos at RCM: 11 Protest Songs for the Now Generation

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