; Tangled Up In Blue: Where are the protest songs?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Where are the protest songs?

I was just listening to music from the Live Music Archive, which has become my favorite spot for finding music, when I came across Michael Franti and Spearhead -- a band that plays a lot of music opposing Shrub's War. And I was thinking about the current situation in the pop music world and comparing it to the 60s. Things have certainly changed. Popular music used to include provocative songs that confronted the status quo, songs that had a distinct voice and message (Bob Dylan's songs come to mind). The current generation's left with the occasional drab song seeking aid money for Africa or hurricane victims. I get the feeling that radio stations refuse to play any protest song that's any more controversial than a Pepsi commericial. At one point, I was under the mistaken impression that nobody's singing protest songs anymore (or at least no one with talent). But the truth seems to be that commercial interests in the music and film industries have pretty much choked off creativity in the desire for formulaic productions that are gauranteed to make money. For this reason, I'm very optimistic about the current movement away from CDs and tape in favor of MP3s, and the Live Music Archive in particular. Michael Franti and Spearhead has some decent songs among a very eclectic mix. Bomb the World is worth a listen. Just about anything in the archive is an improvement over the drivel coming from commercial radio.

3 Comments:

Blogger dolphin said...

Recently, I've noticed a sharp increase in protest music on the bluegrass scene. Proabbly about the last place you'd expect to see it, yet I'd bet I hear at least one song protesting the Iraq war or some other aspect of this administration just about every day on my way to work.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

bring on the songs that can change the world!!

7:12 PM  
Blogger romablog said...

It's all in what those kids listen to (hip hop). Probably a good slice of underground hip hop is purely political.

As for radio stations. *Shudder*

Who listens to radio, anymore, anyways?

9:53 PM  

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