Monday, 8 November 2010

Save Us, Protest Singers! You're Our Only Hope!

For those of us who still spend far too much time thinking about what used to be called popular culture, these are fretful times. For more than two years, politics has been in a state of post-crash tumult. Now the government sets about what remains of the social fabric, with order papers waved aloft.
Oh noes! What to do? Who will save the progressives from reality?
And pop culture's response?
That's it! Artists and singers and actors, of course! Why didn't I think of that...
To end, then, an appeal to some unknown neurotic outsider, stranded in God-knows-where, and minded to pick up a guitar and howl their outrage: please, prove me wrong.

It's no wonder the Tories are thrashing Labour, even with a wet noodle like iDave in charge, and mostly soft-pink policies. Look at the opposition!


ArtCo said...

Well I think I have something to say artistically, but its maybe not what they would want to hear.
Unfortunately the comments have been closed over there JulieM.

Anyway shameless plug for anyone wanna see and hear what I have to say 'artistically'.
Ive done a masterpiece , well maybe not , but I think you may find it interesting. Ok this is a shameless plug but it rips a new one for the righteous in a number of ways. Its my way of political blogging. Please let me know what you think.

RAB said...

The history of the "Political" pop song can be written on the back of a postage stamp,it just doesn't sell you see.

There was Eve of Destruction that was a big hit in my youth, but that was just a general rant about modern life.

The best one I can think of for clever, humourous and effective lyics, was Country Joe and the Fishes Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die.An anti Vietnam piece.

I'm sure we will all have heard this one...

But was it a protest against Vietnam? Nope.
Against the Berlin wall then? Solidarity with the Palistinians?

No it was about the LAPD shutting down a nightclub. Cracking song and band though. Look out for David Crosby standing in for Neil Young.

So remind me again, how many hits has Billy Bragg had?

Lynne said...

Don't they mean plop culture? If those really shitty, ride the guilt train songs from angst-struck pretentious gits are supposed to change the world how come all they do is fill the coffers of greedy record companies and agents and make the "fans" that much poorer?

Woodsy42 said...

No political pop songs?
I assume Rab you have forgotten U2, Sunday Bloody Sunday, that's a tad political for a hit, as indeed are many Irish songs, trad and modern.
Pink Floyd The Wall - "we don't need no mind control" - right on!
The first Levellers album - a weapon called the word, what was that about then?
It's there if you look for it.

RAB said...

Fair enough Woodsy42, I must have blocked out U2 as I cant stand the fuckers!

But my point was that the political stuff is always tucked away on the albums, they never got to be the hit single.

Yes I could name loads of "Political" songs, Natures Way by Spirit, and Bear Melt by Jefferson Airplane, both Green polemics, Volunteers by Airplane again,to name but a few, but like I say, not hits that impinged on the general publics conciousness much.

The closest I can think of to "Hits" were Imagine and Give Peace a chance, and i'm not sure how successful they would have been without John Lennon having written them.

I dont believe that most people actually listen to the lyrics of a song much, it is the beat and the tune that grabs them first, and often dont understand what the lyric is about when they finally do.

Difficult to miss the point of the Beatles Taxman though, wasn't it? But like I said, not the number one single, but tucked away on the Revolver album.

Greencoat said...

My favourite protest-monger was John Lennon, the working-class hero with a squillion in the bank a freezer full of fur coats for his wife, the irresistible Yoko.

blueknight said...

Foreclosure of a dream - Megadeth

JuliaM said...

"Unfortunately the comments have been closed over there..."

Yes, when the OP is getting a pasting in the comments, that happens a lot! :)

" just doesn't sell you see."

I wonder why?

Some of the best protest songs are subtle, you find yourself humming along regardless of your eventual horror when you find out what it is you've been humming along to!

Maybe the rest lack that?

"Don't they mean plop culture?"


"I dont believe that most people actually listen to the lyrics of a song much, it is the beat and the tune that grabs them first..."

Spot on. And of course, with a lot of modern 'singers', you can't always hear the lyrics properly....

Anonymous said...

Art? Isn't that the stuff spivs sell to rich people? Protest songs? Aren't they basically the same as monks chanting medical cures? One could even argue that shooting Lennon was a work of art, a protest about vile riches etc.
We need revolution, not poxy songs. Lady Gaga - now that's protest pornography already. Who cares? We should not - the real issue is that independent reporting has been killed off. Iraq and Afghanistan are Vietnam, it's just that the press won't show us.

g1lgam3sh said...

"So remind me again, how many hits has Billy Bragg had?"

Frankly RAB not enough, but then as far as I'm concerned there are just not enough baseball bats in the world for Billy Bragg.

w/v prost, I kid you not :-)