music as social action ::
This week, you read your first selections from Dorian Lynskey’s 2011 book, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs. Here's a fairly recent interview with Lynskey — a Q&A that deals with many questions relevant not only to your reading of her work but to the overall arc of the course. (Pay particular attention to a question midway through about the history of culture wars, which is a topic next week!)
Participation!: The general question being considered in this interview is whether or not the increased activism of the Trump presidency thus far has revived the spirit of protest music. Have you heard new protest songs in, say, the last year or so? Tell us about them, and include links!
4/8/2019 08:06:02 pm
I know of a song written by singer-songwriter ROZES called "Halfway There" which was purposefully released on the halfway point of Trump's four-year presidency. This piece was also the official song of the 2019 Women's March.
4/9/2019 04:21:10 pm
The song is called Klown Wit Da Nuclear Code. I'm not sure if it's just me, I feel like the singer is mimicking Trump's voice in singing the song.
4/9/2019 04:21:29 pm
To be quite honest, I hadn't particularly noticed the shocking rise in protest songs that this interview comments on. Besides hearing the song “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” by YG ft. Nipsey Hussle, which was so blatantly anti-trump, the rest never caught my attention much. I think it may be that I am used to rap songs being political or negatively charged in general, that I didn't associate it being due to Trump when it was more subtle. After doing a bit of research into the topic and reading the interview, it seems there was most definitely a spur in songs that dealt with the general idea of being worried about America during this time of Trump's presidency. I found the song "All American Made" by Margo Price to be particularly interesting because it really captures a feeling of helplessness surrounding America because of the way institutions of power have taught American's to sit back and watch as the country's classes get further and further separated and the county revolves around money. I also get the sense that she feels like we are loosing the original meaning of "American made" and the American dream that is associated with that is getting farther and farther away. https://open.spotify.com/track/11VbThVkXwgaj9DN8TeR80
4/10/2019 10:30:56 am
The song "Land of the Free" by The Killers is a new song that discusses the social issues in America, specifically those revolving around gun control and immigrants. While it doesn't specifically talk about Trump, it refers to the "wall" and one can infer this may be a song also protesting Trump's ideals. A powerful line is "So how many daughters, tell me, how many sons do we have to have to put in the ground before we just break down and face it: we got a problem with guns".
4/10/2019 11:27:27 am
A very popular protest song that is one of my favorites has to be "This is America" by Childish Gambino. The song is about the average African American in the United States who faces the everyday realities of racism and discrimination. Childish Gambino also raps about more recent issues that we have been seeing today such as gun violence, mass shootings, and police brutality. His music video also showcases these concepts in an artistically creative way. Although the catchy beat can be distracting, the lyrics are very raw and personal to today's recent events.
4/10/2019 10:38:17 pm
The most recent protest song I have heard is Janelle Monae's "Americans". She calls mainly for the gender and ethic equality, and I think the lyrics of this song are really powerful.
4/18/2019 08:47:59 am
Really interesting selections, thank you!
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