Are protest songs effective, either as protest or songs? Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Lilli Lewis, Rod Picott, and Tyler Hislop to discuss how protest works in various musical genres, who it’s aimed at, and when it goes wrong. Has the day of the protest song passed, or is it alive and well?
Rod mentions how Bruce Springsteen clarified the political character of “Born in the U.S.A.” by rearranging it (and so did Neil Young with “Rockin’ in the Free World.”) We also mention “1913 Massacre,” “Fuck the Police,” “Signs,” “Ohio,” “We Are the World,” “Why We Build the Wall,” crappy protest songs against COVID restrictions, Hip Hop for Respect, and more.
Some articles with more lists and such include:
- “The 50 Greatest Protest Songs” by Martin O’Gorman
- “Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Protest Songs of All Time” by Andy Greene
- “The Popdose 100: The Greatest Protest Songs of All Time“
- “The Most Misunderstood Political Songs Ever: 10 Tracks You Didn’t Get” by Brett Milan
- “10 of the Worst Political Songs You’ll Ever Hear” by Tom Hawking
- “The Ten Least Effective Protest Songs” by Tim Worthington
- “Protest Music: Songs and Free Speech” at First Amendment Museum
This episode includes bonus discussion featuring all of our guests that you can access by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.