Protest songs are everywhere—except on TV, radio, and the leading playlists
I've been very curious why music hasn't been getting so intensely banned over the last year like books have (mine among them). I think that book banning is a testament to the power of books—the still-mystical power that a tangible book still retains. But what about music? Has the ubiquity of streaming lessened music's political power in the USA?
Classical music at a homeless encampment? Dude, why are people complaining? Turn that shit up! 🎹
Absolutely true! Music has the power to unite us and bring about meaningful change in our society. It is no wonder why it is feared by those in power.
This is a great and welcome post and the list is something I will go through carefully. Many of our American Blues and Rock songs come from these same emotions.
Two comments, if I may.
Among the news items you cite is one about the ongoing, but largely ineffectual, efforts of the Canadian government to foster Canadian content in the media. This is not about censorship and certainly not a reaction to the words and music and images of foreign artistic creations. Mostly it is a project in response to the massive influence of American voices and to protect Canadian jobs. But, as I say, it has not been terribly effective.
Also, we should bear in mind that the powerful emotional effect of songs is not always benign. I’m sure the Nazis fervently sang the Horst Wessel Lied.
Interesting development: this post about the state of protest music produces protests in the comments. Perhaps the 'ubiquity' of channels to broadcast anger, demands, and complaints for everyone across the spectrum of political opinion lessens the need to consolidate those emotions into a song?
The term Protest Music reminds one of earlier times but as this issue of HB shows it is not merely nostalgia. My brothers Chris and Dan and I performed The Gates of Justice by our father, Dave, at UCLA (Feb. 26) and at Holman Methodist Church (Feb 28) also in LA. The 'Gates of Justice’ was composed in 1969 in response to a crisis in the alliance between American Jewish and Black congregations that had been natural allies in the Civil Rights movement. Most people would agree such a performance promoting reconciliation and diversity is sadly relevant now too, but we Brubecks were surprised that we were asked to do it. It is difficult music requiring large professional forces and soloists and confrontational as well, and not at all like a ‘pops’ concert with jazz musicians. Furthermore, it was part of a whole program of serious protest music by other noted composers. I wanted to add this to the survey with thanks to Ted. If you are curious about the piece, here is a link :
My clubbing nights are long gone, but the dance floor might be another place where music still makes people think and dance.
Here is a protest song that stayed under the radar: Song link; video link; rumble video link: https://rumble.com/vtia2j-i-will-not-comply-leave-us-alone.html
This is a great project. Can’t wait to read Ted’s piece on New Journalism! Esp. what you have to say about HST and “objective” journalism today. Writing about RS myself, after I heard Jann Wenner and Greil Marcus speak at Berkeley.
That's pretty convincing. Kudos to the people who have the guts to speak up for what they believe in.
You didn’t mention the thriving conservative rap scene, including Tom McDonald and Bryson Gray. Both frequently top the iTunes Charts, but you’ll never hear them on commercial radio.
the conductor being shot.. remember it is coming from "Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine
October 15, 2022" that sounds like propaganda to me.. there is a huge amount of it on this topic of russia-ukraine..
The song ‘Where is reality?’ questions some of the ‘news’ (read propaganda) that mainstream media deliver. The song is on major streaming services but stays under radar or has few streams. It confirms the thesis of Ted... for now. Would you consider this song a protest song? Or does a protest song always need a specific target (person, government or organisation)? https://youtu.be/IkruhjDkgLQ
One of the earliest protest songs was the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves ("Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate") from Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Nabucco. The chorus was adopted by Italian patriots in the mid-nineteenth century who were seeking to unify their country. Even today, opera houses around the world will stop their performance of Nabucco after the chorus is sung, and play it again with audience participation.
The woman in Crimea very much knew she was singing a song associated with ukronazis. You should include a more balanced representation of music of defiance, not only what fits NATO propaganda machine. And yes, in times of war, betrayal is punishable by death.