Music To Murder Mr. Bateman To
March 6, 2009 10:34 AM   Subscribe

MusicFixFilter: In need of very specific punk and anti-punk songs from today or yesteryear. In particular need of "overthrow the system!" and "Cut your damn hair, hippie!" themes. Oh so much more inside.

Ideally, I'm looking for punk or otherwise high-energy songs that implore people to "fight the power", overthrow systems, and such. I'd like to get past anything used in a car commercial (not out of snobbishness, but c'mon, do we really need to hear them again?) and songs a casual fan of the genre may not be familiar with."Suspect Device" by the Stuff Little Fingers would be a good example.

I *also* need songs that counter the first. Yelling down the uppity kids, swearing everything is just fine, and um ..the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends. "Hip To Be A Square" is, of course, the ideal example.

Thanks in advance.
posted by The Whelk to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I really like the cover album by A Perfect Circle, where they do modern interpretations of famous protest music. Emotive.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2009

The Modern World - The Jam
posted by elmono at 10:41 AM on March 6, 2009

Get a job!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:43 AM on March 6, 2009

To Have and Have Not - Billy Bragg
posted by elmono at 10:44 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Although it's a satire, Okie From Muskogee is perfect. I am betting this doesn't make it past preview, it is so perfect.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:52 AM on March 6, 2009

There's a lot of "Cut your damn hair, hippie!" themes in Guttermouth's music. Specifically, "Trinket Trading, Tick Toting, Toothless, Tired Tramps...or the 7 T's" from Teri Yakimoto
posted by nitsuj at 10:53 AM on March 6, 2009

Real World - Husker Du
Out of Step- Minor Threat
We've Got a Bigger Problem Now- Dead Kennedys
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:04 AM on March 6, 2009

The Dropkick Murphys cover "Which Side Are You On?", which falls in my personal category of "more songs about labor disputes and poverty."

There's probably a lot of Against Me! and Anti-Flag that fits your bill, too-- they're bands I'm less familiar with, though (Pandora just handed me an Against Me! song about 30 seconds ago).
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:05 AM on March 6, 2009

So, this probably doesn't fit, but I can't resist mentioning Pavement's "Cut your hair!" It's about the music business.
posted by grobstein at 11:15 AM on March 6, 2009

The anti-authority songs are a lot easier to come by than really blatant instances of pro-authority songs.

For anti-authority, Crass and Conflict are great and less known than, say, Black Flag. The only problem is getting stuff that's sufficiently general, since there are lots of references to the Falklands, the Poll Tax Riots, etc. Try this, this, or this. There's also self-aware stuff like this. And newer stuff by bands like Good Riddance.

Yeah, Guttermouth was always "good" for the conformist punk kind of thing (I sigh with disdain). The Vandals had a song called Anarchy Burger that was in this anti-punk vein. But were you looking specifically for punk-sounding music that is anti-punk, or can it be any old conformist tune? Like, would "Be True To Your School" count?

To round it off, there's also that less-known tradition of progressive punks writing songs that castigate non- or not-sufficiently progressive punks; e.g. "Punk is Dead" and "White Punks on Hope" by Crass, stuff like "Against All Odds" by Conflict, and a lot of Dead Kennedys songs.
posted by Beardman at 11:19 AM on March 6, 2009

"Be True to your School" would also count. I'm going for a "call and response" kinda of thing. So "Be True To your School" would pair with "Rock-n-Roll Highschool" or something.
posted by The Whelk at 11:21 AM on March 6, 2009

Dead Milkmen, "The Thing that Only Eats Hippies"
Frank Zappa, "Hey Punk"

And, while not exactly "high energy," the song "Easy to be Hard" from Hair is another example.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:23 AM on March 6, 2009

Black Flag - My War.
Every other Dead Kennedys song.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:25 AM on March 6, 2009

Well, you can't go wrong with the most nauseatingly patriotic song of all time, "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood.
posted by naju at 11:27 AM on March 6, 2009

"Cut your hair, hippie":

Marche à l'ombre by the French rocker Renaud is targeted at a variety of subculture types, including punks and hippies. Dans mon HLM takes on ex-May '68ers and Trotskyites.

I guess the Modern Lovers' "I'm Straight" would fit in this category too.
posted by nasreddin at 11:27 AM on March 6, 2009

"God Bless the U.S.A."

Which would counter "Born in the USA" pretty nicely.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:28 AM on March 6, 2009

"Suburban Home" by the Descendents
posted by dm_nyc at 11:33 AM on March 6, 2009

"Cut Your Hair" - Pavement
posted by greensweater at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2009

on review, what grobstein said! :)
posted by greensweater at 11:40 AM on March 6, 2009

Or, hell, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" by the Monkees.
"Surrender" by Cheap Trick
posted by Sys Rq at 11:42 AM on March 6, 2009

D.O.A. - General Strike.
posted by Bearman at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2009

Murder the Government by NoFX.
posted by peep at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2009

Alternative TV's first true 7", "How Much Longer?," is a 1977 single bemoaning the state of punk:

"How much longer / will people wear / Nazi armbands / and dye their hair?"

Their first album is pretty great too. Half-live, half-studio, with a cover featuring a photo (among others) of singer Mark P sprawled out on the floor among his favorite, very unfashionable albums - among them Love's "Forever Changes" and other hippie classics - the album was total career suicide, which reduced their audience by about 90% (and their next album took care of the remaining 10%!)

One of the songs on the album, "Alternatives," is a live track in which he offers up the stage to anyone in the audience who wants to (in a sense) fight the system. When senseless drunken banter is all that's provided, Mark P challenges those who espouse revolutionary ideas yet can't string a coherent thought together. It's about a great a critique of punk that's ever been done, without the benefit of historical hindsight.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:18 PM on March 6, 2009

The Clash's cover of Sonny Curtis and The Crickets' "I Fought the Law."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2009

Either "Middle Finger Response" or "Stick the Fucking Flag up Your Goddam Ass, You Sonofabitch" off of Propagandhi's How to Clean Everything immediately spring to mind for the first category.
posted by togdon at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2009

Jeff Wears Birkenstocks - NOFX
posted by jennyb at 1:40 PM on March 6, 2009

"Class War" and "I Hate the Rich" by The Dils.
posted by buzzbash at 2:19 PM on March 6, 2009

Smash the State - DOA

Protest and Survive - Discharge

Seconding Class War, lots of bands have covered that too.

Love in the Ruins- Feederz ( good luck finding that, i could email an mp3 if ya wanted...)

Borstal Breakout - Sham 69
posted by Max Power at 2:36 PM on March 6, 2009

Cut It, Dude -- The Queers (haircuts)
Coup D'Etat -- Circle Jerks (let's overthrow the gummint)
Real World -- Hüsker Dü (sit down and shut up, you obnoxious punk kids)
Music Is None Of My Business -- Dillinger Four (let's fuck shit up)
Love Is All Around/Mary Tyler Moore theme -- Hüsker Dü (awwwww)
What Could've Been -- Fucked Up (let's fuck even more shit up)
Dark Ages -- Nomeansno (waaah everything sucks and it's all YOUR fault)
Dancing Barefoot -- Patti Smith Group (I missed the apocalypse cuz I was too busy celebrating)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:37 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come is pretty much all "down with the system," all the time. Consider the opening lines of the first song, "Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull:"

I've got a bone to pick with Capitalism,
And a few to break...
posted by saladin at 2:46 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by saladin at 2:46 PM on March 6, 2009

Here's a few relatively recent protesty bands which you could look at in general as well as a few selected songs.

Anti-Flag definitely. "You've Got To Die For Your Government" (stupid Youtube video montage, just listen) works in response to anything pro-military.

Propagandhi is definitely another excellent selection.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy: "Smash It Up" and "Capitalism Stole My Virginity"

Pennywise - "Fuck Authority"

Mischief Brew - "Thanks Bastards"
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:19 PM on March 6, 2009

No one has mentioned "Atom and His Package?" He does some hilariously anti-punk punk stuff. I mean, just consider some of these titles:
"Anarchy means I litter"
"The Palestinians are not the same thing as the Rebel Alliance"

"Punk Rock Academy" is also brilliant.
posted by filibuster at 3:41 PM on March 6, 2009

Teen Idols -- Lovely Day
Teen Idles -- Deadhead

Not sure who's on what side tho?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:48 PM on March 6, 2009

Both are pretty anti-"trend," but Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me" and Bob Seger's "Old-Time Rock and Roll" are nasty standout pro-establishment oldies (explicitly anti-punk in Joel's case, and in Seger's, anti-...tango).

It's not high-energy at all, but there's The Good The Bad And The Queen's "Herculean" ("it all gets better when life is straight/bigger than you, the welfare state") - that whole album is sort of a resigned (more than ironic, but with ironic intent) ode to authority. Except for the parts that are just nonsense.

As for the direct anti-authoritarian rabble-rouse, the Smiths did it a few times ("Shoplifters of the World Unite" and "Panic," the former not too high-energy, the latter not too directly audience-addressing). They did address directly a lot but it wasn't often explicitly politicized.

I assume your hypothetical casual fan is familiar with the Clash, but it's probably worth mentioning "White Riot" and any live version of "What's My Name?" ("What the hell is wrong with you?"). And a couple of songs on "Give 'Em Enough Rope" are punk critiques; the one with the most direct audience address (am I being picky when I assume you very specifically want that?) have to be "Cheapskates" and "All The Young Punks ("New Boots And Contracts").

Half of Gogol Bordello probably qualifies, but I will reveal my lack of in-depth knowledge by suggesting a couple songs from "Underdog World Strike:" "Think Locally, Fuck Globally," "Illuminations," and half that album really.

Kristeen Young, "Kill the Father," "(Don't Go) Back To School," "Touch Tongues."

I have to check out Alternative TV now! Holy shit, that sounds fantastic.
posted by thesmallmachine at 5:33 PM on March 6, 2009

Supernova Hippy
(the sample of the song here will do, since that's the whole song - 12 seconds)

classic of classic -> Black Flag Rise Above
posted by citron at 7:27 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fight the Power by Public Enemy. A great, great song.
posted by lukemeister at 7:47 PM on March 6, 2009

Seems as if you should be able to find a place for "I'm just a singer in a rock-and-roll band" by the Moody Blues, perhaps in response to some pretentious song about how music will change the world.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:17 PM on March 6, 2009

Nthing Propagandhi for the f the system side.

They have occasionally displayed a capacity for irony that could fit them on your anti-counterculture side as well. I'm thinking of "Megan," a gently-poking-fun-at-vegans song (well, you could read it that way, except that the band seems to be all-vegan), or the intro to "White Proud & Stupid". (The latter pairs with Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'", if you consider that a protest album.)

Anyway, a generally over-the-top approach to politics &c. I am no longer young and passionate, but still can't help but enjoy their anti-Rastafarian (and anti-religion) reggae opus, "Haile Selassie, Up Your Ass"...
posted by snoe at 12:34 PM on March 9, 2009

Thanks everyone! It was a *hit*. It ednedup being more "oh noes! the recession!" and I wanted to do this graceful change from hard to soft to hard, but I think it worked out. The final track list was:

Huey Lewis and the News - Hip To Be Square
Dope - You Spin Me Round
X Ray Spex - Oh Bondage Up Yours!
Against Me! - White People For Peace
The Ramones - The KKK Took My Baby Away
Mojo Nixon - I'm Drunk
The Ramones -Judy Is A Punk
Dead Kennedys- I Fought the Law
The Moody Blues- I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)
Billy Bragg - To Have And Have Not
Billie Holiday - God Bless The Child
The Carter Family - Keep On the Sunny Side
Dead Kennedys - We've Got A Bigger Problem Now
Husker Du - Love Is All Around
NOFX - I Want you To Want Me
Propagandhi - Middle Finger Response
The Queers - This Place Sucks
The Ramones - Rock N Roll High School
The Beach Boys - Be True To Your School
The Smiths - Shoplifters Of the World Unite
Patti Smith - Dancing Barefoot
The Modern Lovers - I'm Straight
Against Me! - Baby, I'm An Anarchist
The Slits - Typical Girls
Crass - Punk is Dead
Circle Jerks - Coup D'Etat

posted by The Whelk at 8:00 PM on March 14, 2009

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