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What songs protesting government reaction to 9/11 came out after the event itself and before its 1st anniversary?
September 9, 2011 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I remember the relief of hearing Sage Francis' Makeshift Patriot for the first time in October of 2001. It was the first song that voiced my fear of possible repression in the US. I thought there would be a wave of left-wing protest songs, but it seemed to be more of a trickle. In August of 2002 Sleater-Kinney asked in Combat Rock where the protest songs were. My question is the same as theirs: What songs protesting government reaction to 9/11 came out after the event itself and before its 1st anniversary? I am specifically looking for protest songs by American musicians.
posted by Kattullus to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
You'll be interested in Neil Young's Living With War Today, I think you will.
posted by carsonb at 10:56 AM on September 9, 2011


Bright Eyes' "When The President Talks To God" has to be the most vicious takedown of George W. Bush set to music.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:59 AM on September 9, 2011


I'm not sure the national mood was one of protest, even in lefty/anti-war/student circles, until the first rumblings of war in Iraq, in the late fall of 2002 through to spring 2003. I remember being probably the only person I knew (as a left-leaning college student) who was adamantly against the war in Afghanistan within the first several months of 9/11 happening.

The songs I remember hearing a lot in the run-up to Iraq were the abovementioned Combat Rock and Outkast's B.O.B. (AKA "Bombs Over Baghdad"), which came out in 2000 and is not directly related to post-9/11 sentiment. Also other songs re-appropriated from the Gulf War era, like Ani di Franco's Roll With It.

Keep in mind, too, that back in 2001 it still took some time for a song to pass from the songwriting phase to general public consumption. This is the Napster era we're talking about. We went into Afghanistan in October 2001, so protest songs couldn't possibly have been written in earnest until late fall of that year. The only way there could have been protest songs before then would have been generic "fuck the gub'mit" type Rage Against The Machine stuff, or the sort of Green Party/free Tibet/anti-globalism leftist protest that was common before 9/11 (see, for instance, Patti Smith's Gung Ho record).
posted by Sara C. at 11:02 AM on September 9, 2011


Bad Religion wrote several protest songs.
posted by michaelh at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2011


Thamusement released Protest Song in 2003-ish. It's a pretty great song.
posted by fshgrl at 11:05 AM on September 9, 2011


Came in to point out that Neil Young asked this same question for years after 9/11, then got fed up and made his own album to show the kids how it's done. Carsonb has the link above.
posted by Aquaman at 11:10 AM on September 9, 2011


Oh, and how could I forget Ani's spoken word piece about 9/11, Self Evident, which appears on 2002's So Much Shouting So Much Laughter.
posted by Sara C. at 11:12 AM on September 9, 2011


I will also point out that there was a pretty seriously heavy penalty for having the "wrong" opinion about America's Just War. See Dixie Chicks.
posted by Aquaman at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2011


This is a friend's project: Max & the Marginalized

They're more of a general political message outlet (like RATM), but started off specifically in response to the War on Terror.
posted by carsonb at 11:16 AM on September 9, 2011


The Perceptionists' Black Dialogue has several.
posted by elektrotechnicus at 11:25 AM on September 9, 2011


Ani DiFranco: Self Evident.
posted by monospace at 11:26 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


For picking through: Wikipedia's list of songs about the 9/11 attacks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:41 AM on September 9, 2011


Though I don't think Self Evident is a "protest song" in the classic vein - more a lament. I haven't heard it in a while but I don't remember it really being Against anything besides terrorism or even an explicitly political argument beyond the idea that it's wrong for the US to pursue policies of oppression against brown people/the third world.

September 11 wasn't an explicitly political event until it was turned into a causus belli further down the road - which is when you start seeing genuinely politicized protest songs . Many people on the left were against the general feeling of fear and Rightward drift that the US response signalled (especially the War On Terror, Axis of Evil, and use of the word "crusade" by Bush), but 9/11 isn't a protestable event the way that a war or a law or a policy is.
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 AM on September 9, 2011


Rickie Lee Jones did Ugly Man as a specifically anti-George-W-Bush thing. I'm a big fan of hers, but it's a pretty lousy song.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2011


Previously: http://ask.metafilter.com/129131/let-it-fall-down
posted by Gortuk at 12:36 PM on September 9, 2011


Just to clarify, I'm not looking for any and all songs about 9/11. I'm looking for protest songs released in the year after: 9/12/2001 to 9/10/2002. Specifically ones that deal with government reaction to 9/11.

Bad Religion's 2002 album The Process of Belief has no 9/11 specific songs as far as I can remember. And as much as I love The Perceptionists' Black Dialogue, it came out in 2005. However, it did jog my memory and I remembered that Mr. Lif released his solo EP Emergency Rations in June 2002, which is the kind of stuff I'm looking for.

So is Ani DiFranco's Self-Evident, which was published on Sept. 10th 2002, and I'm sure was knocking around the internet before then.

"Ugly Man" came out in 2003, "Protest Song" in 2004, "When the President Talks to God" in 2005 and Living with War in 2006. So none of them fit my criteria.

Sara C.: Keep in mind, too, that back in 2001 it still took some time for a song to pass from the songwriting phase to general public consumption. This is the Napster era we're talking about. We went into Afghanistan in October 2001, so protest songs couldn't possibly have been written in earnest until late fall of that year.

"Makeshift Patriot" was released on the internet in October of 2001, and came out on Sick of Waging War in November that same year, so it was possible to get stuff out there.
posted by Kattullus at 12:38 PM on September 9, 2011


Emilie Autumn had an uncharacteristically terrible charity single called "By The Sword."
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:42 PM on September 9, 2011


"Make No Mistake" by MC Paul Barman came out in 2002 I believe.

"Who's responsible for the
predictable results of our actions?
I only know fractions of facts
and the interested factions
don't use flags. They use logos.
We'll know the real rogues
by wherever the dough goes."
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:00 PM on September 9, 2011


Another previously.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:10 PM on September 9, 2011


Steve Earle's "Ashes to Ashes"? I can't remember when it came out. On Jerusalem.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:59 PM on September 9, 2011


Dan Bern has quite a few, but the two that immediately come to mind are Talkin' Al Kida Blues and NYC 911.

There’s laws for this and laws for that
To keep those terrorists under wraps
Some folks disagree with these
And talk of civil liberties
But it’s like the Attorney General says….
If in times like these you can talk about individual freedom…
You’re probably a terrorist!…

posted by elsietheeel at 2:42 PM on September 9, 2011


So is Ani DiFranco's Self-Evident, which was published on Sept. 10th 2002, and I'm sure was knocking around the internet before then.

She may have been playing it live*? So maybe via bootleg? It simply was not released to the public until So Much Shouting So Much Laughter came out in 2002. But, again, I think you're approaching this from a 2011 conception of how the music industry works.

Not to mention that, even a year after 9/11/01, this song isn't really a protest song. It's just a song about the attacks from somewhat of a liberal bent. The political points made are common ones from the pre-9/11 era (anti-racism, anti-globalism, a general touchy-feely "violence is bad/don't oppress people" sentiment).

*In fact, SMSSML is a live album, so yeah, it was definitely out there as a song prior to the album's release date. It's worth doing research on the timeline of the performance/s said album reflects.
posted by Sara C. at 2:48 PM on September 9, 2011


A few days ago I downloaded Ani's "Self-Evident" from her Carnegie Hall bootleg. It was (according to her) the first time she performed it after 9/11. It is the best version I've heard, mainly because you can feel her intensity. http://www.righteousbabe.com/ani/bootleg/carnegie/moreinfo.asp
posted by Lullen at 7:05 PM on September 9, 2011


Final Straw by R.E.M. Re-recorded for Around the Sun, but the original version was released for free on their website.
posted by Mrevilbreakfast at 3:28 PM on January 3, 2012


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