I’m a pretty big fan of protest music, but I’ll freely admit that like any music genre, it has its fair share of shit. The way you can tell good protest music from bad, I’ve discovered, is that bad protest music has a couple common attributes:
-Generally bad protest music is made by people who aren’t particularly knowledgeable regarding what they’re complaining about. Maybe they’re not even particularly interested in it, but everyone hates Bush so that seems like a profitable bandwagon to jump on.
-Bad protest music is generally pretty whiny. The songs that really work, though (like the Arcade Fire song that Matt uses as an example) are just plain pissed off.
That’s why Rage Against the Machine is one of the most effective musical vehicles for political change in recent history. It’s because instead of moaning about how we should “give peace a chance,” every single song quivers with righteous anger.
This post seems like as good an excuse as any to post Let Them Eat War. Bad Religion is probably one of the most consistently underrated punk bands out there, and one of my personal favorites. This song right here is their indictment of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq and it was basically the soundtrack to my work on the Lamont campaign.
(Bonus points: the rap in the bridge is performed by Sage Francis on the album)