Tag Archives: protest music

New Neil Young: Lookin’ For A Leader 2020

Video: Neil Young – “Lookin’ For A Leader 2020”

Neil Young - Lookin' For A Leader 2020 (Official Music Video)

From The Times EP, due September 18 on Reprise.

A new version of a song originally released during the George W. Bush administration, Neil updates the lyrics for today.

We got our election
But corruption has a chance
We got to have a big win
To regain confidence
America is beautiful
But she has an ugly side
We’re lookin’ for a leader
In this country far and wide

Good old Neil. We know he recently sued the Trump campaign for using his music at his rallies and now he’s calling him out in song.

Just like his big new fence
This president’s going down
America’s moving forward
You can feel it in every town
Scared of his own shadow
Buildin’ walls around our house
He’s hiding in his bunker
Something else to lie about

We’ve given Neil crap over the years for dashing out lyrics without putting much craftsmanship into the effort but sometimes the directness works. This is one of those times.

We don’t need a leader
Building walls around our house
Who don’t know black lives matter
And it’s time to vote him out

Yes it is. Make sure you’re registered. And make sure you cast your ballot. And if you don’t trust the USPS, you can drop off your ballot in person. Find out where. Your place probably has a secure dropbox where you don’t even need to get within six feet of anybody. Do it!

Neil Young: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Neil Young: Lookin’ For A Leader 2020

New Gary Clark Jr video: This Land

Video: Gary Clark Jr – “This Land”

Gary Clark Jr - This Land [Official Music Video]

Directed by Savanah Leaf. From This Land, due March 1 on Warner Bros.

They say turbulent times create great art, and Gary Clark Jr. has had enough of this shit. Filmed in Clark’s hometown of Austin, Texas, the video is just as striking and powerful as the chorus to this song that takes steady aim at Trump’s America. This one pulls no punches, either. There aren’t any subtle digs at the Scammer in Chief. No, this is a frontal assault on Trump and the ugliness his presidency has surfaced.

I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking…

Gary Clark Jr: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Janelle Monae video: Screwed

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Screwed” (ft. Zoe Kravitz)

Janelle Monáe - Screwed (feat. Zoë Kravitz) [Official Music Video]

From Dirty Computer, out now on Bad Boy/Atlantic.

I believe it when Janelle Monae says, “I lost my mind to rock and roll.” She’s one of the most exciting things happening in music today. She’ll be headlining Coachella and Glastonbury this summer, which has ruffled some old school rockers’ delicate plumage, but what do they know? Like her mentor Prince, she’s a free-ass motherfucker.

I like how “Screwed” is overtly political without sacrificing any of its party jam fun. Apparently written in the wake of the 2016 election, Manae expressed what everybody was thinking: We’re all screwed. But then she optimistically flips the sentiment on its head:

Let’s get screwed
I don’t care
You fucked the world up now
We’ll fuck it all back down

Let’s hope so. Janelle Monae for President in 2020. She’s got my vote.

Janelle Monae: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Marc Ribot and Tom Waits video: Bella Ciao

Video: Marc Ribot – “Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)” (ft. Tom Waits)

Marc Ribot - "Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)" (feat. Tom Waits)

Directed by Jem Cohen. From Songs Of Resistance 1942 – 2018, out now on Anti.

It’s always news when Tom Waits does anything. Especially when he records a version of an old anti-fascist resistance anthem from the Italian Civil War.

One fine morning I woke up early
Find the fascist at my door
Oh, partigiano, please take me with you
Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful

This comes from a new collection of protest songs from guitarist Marc Ribot, who recruited a bunch of singers (including Steve Earle, Tift Merritt, Syd Straw, and Meshell Ndegeocello) to voice historical songs and a few originals.

Explaining “Bella Ciao” Ribot says, “Mussolini’s voodoo economics led Italy into a generation of poverty and a senseless war with hundreds of thousands of Italian casualties—including over 30 thousand Partisans. This song tells the story of one of them. At a tender moment when he or she is saying goodbye to her lover (Bella Ciao=goodbye, beautiful) and trying to imagine what it means to fight for freedom. I played Tom a bunch of the tunes and he immediately bonded with that one. “Of course, he brings a certain gravitas to everything he does—my Italian friends say he sounds exactly like an old ‘partigiano’ (resistance fighter)!”

Portions of the album’s proceeds will be donated to The Indivisible Project, an organization that helps individuals resist the Trump agenda via grassroots movements in their local communities.

Tom Waits: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Marc Ribot: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: This Is America

Video: Childish Gambino – “This Is America”

Childish Gambino - This Is America (Official Video)

Directed by Hiro Murai. Single out now.

Protest music doesn’t typically reach the top of the charts. A couple notable exceptions: “War” by Edwin Starr (1970) and “Indian Reservation” by the Raiders (1971). Many songs that you may think of as big hits (“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye, “Russians” by Sting) were kept out of the top spot.

But Childish Gambino has reached number one with “This Is America,” which he released immediately after performing it on the May 5 episode of Saturday Night Live. The video is powerful and shocking and thought provoking.

The song had 65.3 million U.S. streams and 78,000 downloads sold in the week ending May 10 and 9.4 million in all-genre radio airplay audience in the week ending May 13. The video made up 68% of the song’s streaming total.

Billboard points out that “This Is America” is a “rare socially-themed Hot 100 No. 1 (such as ‘We Are the World’) and perhaps the most pointed example since Lady Gaga’s equality anthem ‘Born This Way’ in 2011.” Socially-themed? That’s an odd euphemism but okay…

A friend I’ve known forever sent me the video that Sunday morning with the comment, “Of all the dumb shit I thought as a young man, thinking that I could somehow understand or identify with being black in America takes the goddamn cake.” It’s true. We were sheltered suburban white kids who listened to N.W.A. and read Malcolm X and watched Do the Right Thing and we sincerely believed we were down with the revolution. I listened to Gil Scott Heron without noticing that “Comment #1” was aimed directly at “silly trite motherfuckers” like me! The hubris of youth is something else. Adulthood is realizing you don’t know dick about shit.

I hope this video encourages people to question their assumptions about some things they think they know. And to shut up once in a while and just listen to others.

Childish Gambino: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading Number One Records: This Is America

New Bad Cop / Bad Cop video: Womanarchist

Video: Bad Cop / Bad Cop – “Womanarchist”

Bad Cop / Bad Cop - Womanarchist (Official Video)

From Warriors, out now on Fat Wreck Chords.

Do you feel bummed that there isn’t more protest music being made these days? Well maybe you’re just not looking for it in the right places. Bad Cop/Bad Cop is writing the songs that need to be heard. “I can’t watch while evolution falls apart / Bury me in history with Nancy Morgan Hart.” You’ve gotta love a band who drops references to Revolutionary War heros!

While comparisons to Joan Jett might be too easy this is definitely a “recommended if you like…” situation. These gals are badasses. “On social media what’s really going on? / Opinions without action never gets anything done.” Right on. Sock it to the Man!

Via Punknews.

Bad Cop / Bad Cop: web, twitter, fb, amazon, apple, spotify.

The Ballad Of October 16th is still relevant and controversial

I’ve been watching the Ken Burns documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History and I’m astonished by how much I didn’t know about that era of American history. One example: a Gallup Poll from early 1939 revealed that 84-85% of American protestants and Catholics “opposed offering sanctuary to European refugees. So did more than one-quarter of American Jews.” This was after the well-reportedNight of Broken Glass” in November of 1938 when Hitler’s goons ransacked Jewish homes, shops, and synagogues through Germany and Austria, killing dozens of Jews and imprisoning thousands more.

I knew that Americans had become isolationist in the wake of World War I, but I had assumed that the so-called Greatest Generation had risen to the occasion when faced with the atrocities of the Nazis. Not so much. It’s shocking to see photos of young American protesters marching with “Make peace with Hitler” signs. FDR reinstated conscription and on October 16, 1940, American men had to register for the draft, and most Americans were not happy about it. Before I watched this episode I had assumed it was just lefty radicals like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger who opposed the war. Their band the Almanac Singers recorded one of my favorite protest songs, “Ballad Of October 16th.”

The Almanac Singers - Ballad Of October 16th

Oh, Franklin Roosevelt told the people how he felt
We damn near believed what he said
He said, “I hate war and so does Eleanor
But we won’t be safe ’til everybody’s dead.”

Continue reading The Ballad Of October 16th is still relevant and controversial

Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee – Dear Companion

Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee - Dear CompanionDaniel Martin Moore and Ben SolleeDear Companion (Sub Pop)

“This is only a song / It can’t change the world…” Probably not, but it sure is making me happy right now.

I don’t know much about Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee except that they’re both from Kentucky and they’re opposed to a type of mining that damages mountains. A part of the proceeds from this album goes to helping that cause.

I don’t pick up on a very strong protest vibe from Dear Companion, but what I do hear is a fine collection of acoustic songs (guitar and cello), sung in gentle, comforting voices with pretty harmonies.

Continue reading Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee – Dear Companion