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Music and Politics


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After noticing it mentioned in another thread about how bands being political now is the "new thing" it's got me thinking, do they do it now because someone told them too or is it because they have real politcal views? I would (and correct me off I'm wrong) say that most popular bands/artists who go the political route are either told to do or just do it because other bands are doing it.

But if they're doing it without any real personal view and just to get publicty well it's not going to work now is it? Within my own CD collection are a few artists who have been known for they're political views. I'll list:

Kris Kristofferson: On his most recent album, recorded in 2002 or 2003 I'm not sure he sings songs about the first Gulf War, an incident where Bill Clinton fired a missle at Baghdad soon after his election because of death threats towards Bush Snr and an in Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down he talks about "Killing babies in the name of freedom" and how "we've been down that sorry road before" and a song called "What About Me" which sorta flys in the face of George Bush's democratic ideals (creating democratic governments in Afghanistan and Iraq) with the lines (And the man in Baghdad said "Do you really believe in freedom/"I said I do" he siad "Oh, What about me?" maybe I'm interpritting(sp) wrong but that's what I get from it.

John Lennon: the name speaks for itself really.

Johnny Cash: Sang about the plight of Native Americans and the down-trodden.

Bob Dylan: see John Lennon.

Arlo Guthrie: Son of the father of protest songs Woody Guthrie, Alro has written about the vietnam draft "Alice's Resteraunt" and the treatment of soldiers "When A Solider Makes It Home" the line being (Nobody seems to care these days...).

Steve Earle: EXTREAMLY opposed to the Death Penalty and his Jerusalem album was pretty anti-Bush. Songs like "John Walkers Blues", "Over Yonder(Johnathon's Song), Amerika (the best we can do), (I Oppose The Death Penalty).

You can tell from these guys that they know what they're talking about and are politcally minded from what I can tell (and again feel free to correct me) alot of those jumping on the bandwagon now aren't.

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Guest Angry Baboon

Yes. Opinions are warped by music and the general a lot. The fact that Moore's booksales are higher than Howard Zinn's proves this :P

Political music has been shite since the late 80's, and hasn't bee *amazing* since the mid 1960's (Mainly because the fact that most political bands are fat 18 year old punkers that live in a relative paradise, but feel the need to spout their generic political views like they're Dylan or something)

Decent political artists (In the message obviously).

Bob Dylan- Revolutionary. Wasn't amazingly talented as a musician, but one of the best songwriters ever.

Neil Young- Arguably better than Dylan. The messages in his songs seem more prominent today than then.

David Byrne (Talking Heads)- Doesn't focus too much on bat shit idealism, but focuses on the social implications. Amazing subtle wit about politics. You're where it's at if you get what the fuck he's saying.

Shite political artists

Zack De La Rocha (Rage Against the Machine)- Socialists working for sony. Hypocrites. Contradicting, PC bullshit. Virtually propoganda. It's tragic that it's aimed at teens.

Thom Yorke (Radiohead)- I love RH but I've heard it all before. Stylish simplistic songwriting. Another socialist advocate that's been seen in Armarni sunglasses :P

Michael Stipe (REM)- Spouts repetitive cliched babble that could just has easily have come out of the mouth of a 14 year old who's been politically "enlightened" by seeing Fight Club or the new Michael Moore film.

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I'll throw Dennis Lyxen into the pool of great political writers. Not only does he back up his views using extensive proof in the linear notes, books and web-sites, but you get the impression when he sings that he believes in what he is saying. Whether it be about sexuality, communism, politicians, anarchy, you get the impression he is well-informed on the issues and thoroughly believes in what he is saying.

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Most punk singers just do it because it's the cool thing to do. Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and whoever else is on the Rock Against Bush album don't really care about Bush. They just 'rock against' him because it's the hip thing to do.

Hey kids, the new cool thing to do is vote for Ralph Nader. Bitches.

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Yes, because Tim Armstrong (Rancid, Operation Ivy) has never, ever cared about politics. Funny thing also, Operation Ivy recorded their song called Unity, oh, I'd say about 15 years ago! But of course, being political is only a fad and Dennis Lyxen, Refused & International Noise Conspiracy hasn't been writing about politics since he started writing in 1993. Right, but I guess you knew that already when you said most of the bands on those albums [Like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte who obviously were included on the discs since you said they were] really didn't care about politics, they were just being hip. Especially Bad Religion who has never attacked politicians in their entire career! I mean, you would never make ignorant misguided comments, would you?

Edited by PunkRockPete
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Yes, because Tim Armstrong (Rancid, Operation Ivy) has never, ever cared about politics. Funny thing also, Operation Ivy recorded their song called Unity, oh, I'd say about 15 years ago! But of course, being political is only a fad and Dennis Lyxen, Refused & International Noise Conspiracy hasn't been writing about politics since he started writing in 1993. Right, but I guess you knew that already when you said most of the bands on those albums [Like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte who obviously were included on the discs since you said they were] really didn't care about politics, they were just being hip. Especially Bad Religion who has never attacked politicians in their entire career! I mean, you would never make ignorant misguided comments, would you?

Heads up. It's useless to try and debate/argue against AR.

There's a song that describes him perfectly: "Bullshit Salesman With A Mouthful of Samples" :thumbsup: :smug:

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I mean, if AR wants I can go and look for every band on those compilations and make a list of all of the political songs they have ever done, because I am sure it would be a lot more than AR would lead you to believe.

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Most punk singers just do it because it's the cool thing to do. Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and whoever else is on the Rock Against Bush album don't really care about Bush. They just 'rock against' him because it's the hip thing to do.

Hey kids, the new cool thing to do is vote for Ralph Nader. Bitches.

There is alot more to politics in punk, than one "Rock Against Bush" album. Punk bands have been writing political songs since it's inception during the 1970's. I could rattle off quite a few punk bands that didn't just write their music because it was the cool thing to do. Do the names Feederz, The Offs, Dead Kennedys, Reagan Youth, The Dils, or Oi Polloi ring a bell? Probably not, but those are just a few good bands with strong beliefs. Look at a band like the Minutemen, churning out 30+ songs per album, and everyone having political themes. Whether or not I agree with alot of these bands ideals, I do believe that many of them were/are true to their word. Hell, Jello Biafra fought censorship in music with Frank Zappa and Dee Snyder, hardly because it was just "the cool thing to do".

Edited by VerbalPuke
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