The Efficacy of Protest Songs — Four Songwriters Discuss on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #121


Are protest songs effective, either as protest or songs? Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Lilli LewisRod 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 restrictionsHip Hop for Respect, and more.

Lilli mentions Crys Matthews. Mark mentions this article about Twisted Sister and their song used for Ukraine. Visit re. Ukraine.

Each of us has written some kind of political song: RodLilliTyler, and Mark. Learn more about Lilli and Rod’s current releases at and

Some articles with more lists and such include:

Follow us @folkrockdiva@RodPicott@sacrifice_mc, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

This episode includes bonus discussion featuring all of our guests that you can access by supporting the podcast at or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts.

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  • Carolyn says:

    Just throwing this out there (seeing amends were made to Clapton by having to say something nice), look into “Rock Against Racism”. Thought of in the early 70s, but spurred into action by the racist & nationalistic comments said by Clapton in 1976.

    Yeah we can say he is a great musician, but he tarnished himself long before covid.

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