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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