Fortunate son
April 16, 2006 10:57 AM   Subscribe

This thread got me thinking about contemporary protest songs.

I want to compile a bunch of them. I can think of "American Idiot" by Green Day offhand, but I know there are more. I'm thinking specifically anti-Bush and anti-war. Hope me!
posted by Astro Zombie to Media & Arts (50 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Highway 9 by Eliza Gilyson

Well, the white god said to the little man
we're gonna fulfill scripture in the holy land
between the Tigris and Euphrates, it's a lot like hell
go on and liberate my people and the o-i-l.

posted by anastasiav at 11:04 AM on April 16, 2006

Green Day also has "Holiday," but if you know "American Idiot," you probably already know that one. There's "Baghdad" by The Offspring. Would Barenaked Ladies' "Helicopters" count?

Then, of course, there's the all time classic "99 Red Balloons," of which there is always a new version being released. Although, that's obviously not specifically anti-Bush since it was originally written in the 1980s.
posted by magodesky at 11:06 AM on April 16, 2006

System of a Down? Pretty obvious there...
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:08 AM on April 16, 2006

Paranoia Cha Cha Cha! by The Soviettes, which was also featured on an entire album (or two) dedicated to anti-war sentiment.
posted by Danelope at 11:09 AM on April 16, 2006

Sleater-Kinney can help you here.
posted by cortex at 11:09 AM on April 16, 2006

Artillery, by the Turncoats.

Unfortunately, there's only a really short clip on their website.
posted by vernondalhart at 11:10 AM on April 16, 2006

Mosh Eminem

All you can see is a sea of people some white and some black
Don't matter what color, all that matters we gathered together
To celebrate for the same cause don't matter the weather
If it rains let it rain, yea the wetter the better
They ain't gonna stop us they can't, we stronger now more than ever
They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go
Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push, shove, mush, Fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home (c'mon)

posted by anastasiav at 11:11 AM on April 16, 2006

"March of Death" by Zack de la Rocha and DJ Shadow, of course.
posted by grouse at 11:12 AM on April 16, 2006

From a mix compiled by LJer LadySisyphus; I can't seem to Google up the original post.

"State of the Union," Thievery Corporation

"When the President Talks to God," Bright Eyes

Sufjan Stevens's "The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Gonna Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight..." has no lyrics, but the title kind of says it all, no?

"Chickenhawk", Roy Zimmerman

"War," by Jonatha Brooke

"Not in my name--Pledge of Resistance," Saul Williams

"I am a patriot," Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

"Amerikan Folk Song," Garry Dunne

"Civilians," Erin McKeown

"America," Bree Sharp

"Downtown Baghdad Blues," Black 47
posted by Jeanne at 11:12 AM on April 16, 2006

A Perfect Circle - Pet.
posted by Jase_B at 11:14 AM on April 16, 2006

"The Revolution Starts Now" and "Home To Houston" by Steve Earle are specifically anti-Bush and anti-war. In fact just about the whole of "The Revolution Starts Now" album is a protest against the war in Iraq.
posted by essexjan at 11:17 AM on April 16, 2006

This is a common question.
posted by scottreynen at 11:22 AM on April 16, 2006

Moxy Fruvous - The Gulf War Song.

Specifically against Bush Sr. and Iraq War I. Bloody good song; beautiful harmonies:

We got a call to write a song about the war in the Gulf
But we shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings
So we tried, then gave up, 'cause there was no such song
But the trying was very revealing
What makes a person so poisonous righteous
That they'd think less of anyone who just disagreed?
She's just a pacifist, he's just a patriot
If I said you were crazy, would you have to fight me?

Fighters for liberty, fighters for power
Fighters for longer turns in the shower
Don't tell me I can't fight, 'cause I'll punch out your lights
And history seems to agree that I would fight you for me

So we read and we watched all the specially selected news
And we learned so much more 'bout the good guys
Won't you stand by the flag? Was the question unasked
Won't you join in and fight with the allies?
What could we say...we're only 25 years old?
With 25 sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold
This kind of life makes that violence unthinkable
We'd like to play hockey, have kids and grow old

Fighters for Texaco, fighters for power
Fighters for longer turns in the shower
Don't tell me I can't fight 'cause I'll punch out your lights
And history seems to agree that I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we

He's just a peacenik and she's just a warhawk
That's where the beach was, that's where the sea
What could we say...we're only 25 years old?
And history seems to agree
that I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we

Is that how it always will be?

From the Liner:
(Mike-vocals; Murray-vocals; Jean-vocals; Dave-lead vocal)

posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:27 AM on April 16, 2006

Sixteen Military Wives - The Decemberists
The Last Trumpet - Lyrics Born
Dirty Harry - The Gorillaz
Heard Somebody Say - Devandra Banhart
posted by cyphill at 11:34 AM on April 16, 2006

U2- Love and Peace or Else

Not sure if by "contemporary" you mean "related to the Iraq war" or just "not from the 1960s or 1970s. (Remember, for those of us past a certain age, the definition of "contemporary" broadens considerably!)

Anti war, but from the 80s:
Pink Floyd- Any and all of The Final Cut
Pink Floyd- Dogs of War
posted by The Deej at 11:36 AM on April 16, 2006

Response by poster: I mean specific to the administration of Bush II. Also, if people can think of songs in re4sponse to Katrina. I know there were a few.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:43 AM on April 16, 2006

You should check out some bands on the G7 Welcoming Commimttee label. One that immediately came to mind is the now defunct Warsawpack.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:49 AM on April 16, 2006

It was mentioned recently, but future soundtrack for america, had some good stuff on it, all related to Bush II
posted by edgeways at 11:50 AM on April 16, 2006

There's numerous punk bands whose entire output is mainly protest songs. Three examples are Anti-Flag, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, and Propaghandi. They've all been going since before the current Iraq War, though, so it's not all based on that - you can find old Anti-Flag songs criticizing Clinton for bombing the shit out of something when he wanted to delay his impeachment hearing, for example.

Providing a specific answer to your question, Anti-Flag got together with a German band called the Donots and recorded Protest Song during the leadup to the current war. It deliberately hearkens back to 60's protest songs.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:55 AM on April 16, 2006

I just asked something similar last week. You might find some good recommendations in that thread.
posted by jdroth at 12:28 PM on April 16, 2006

Bomb the World (Armegeddon Version) - Michael Franti and Spearhead

The Price of Oil - Billy Bragg. LOTS of more songs at that link, from Lenny Kravitz, Beastie Boys, Jonatha Brooke, and others. All from 2002 to 2003. Hosted on an ESL site, interestingly enough.

Jacob's Ladder (Not in My Name version) - Chumbwumba **EMBEDDED AUDIO**
Part of the Peace Not War" jukebox, off two compliations released by the group. Many modern anti-war and anti-Bush songs of many genres to be found there, and frequently updated.

Dan Bern has lots of topical songs: Sammy's Bat, My Country II, Tyranny, Bush Must Be Defeated among many others.

And, for the pure cyclical nature of these things, I encourage folks to listen to the remix by Yusuf Islam Peace Train, a song he he first wrote in the 1960s as Cat Stevens.

Similiarly, Ani DiFranco wrote Roll With It in 1991 during the first Gulf War, but it harkens to the "Let's Roll" mantra of post 9-11 to me. Also written in 1991, and feeling relevant: Civil War by Guns N' Roses (the opening audio clip from Cool Hand Luke might have been intended as a mockery of Bush I, and yet works just as well for Bush II. Sigh)
posted by nelleish at 12:32 PM on April 16, 2006

There's an awful lot of protest in punk -- the first track off of Rise Against's Siren Song of the Counterculture, "State of the Union," directly addresses the current situation (or at least, the situation as it was about two years ago, but as far as I can tell, its still SSDD) and most of the other tracks on that album are more or less anti-war and anti-big-government.

Bad Religion, of course, also comes to mind -- "Let Them Eat War" off their latest album in particular, and more or less all of their back-catalog, although most of it is Pre-Bush Jr.

Not to derail, but is anyone else slightly put off by the Counting Crows version of "They Paved Paradise," particularly the romantic coda that (IIRC) wasn't in the Joni Mitchell version? There's some severe cognative dissonance between "protest music" and "big name band cover," as much as I generally love Counting Crows. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader whether or not there's cognative dissonance in original protest music on a big (RIAA, in particular) label.
posted by Alterscape at 12:40 PM on April 16, 2006

Burt Bacharach, amazingly enough, has recently written anti-war music, and Dolly Parton's latest album contains covers of several classic protest songs.
posted by the_bone at 1:02 PM on April 16, 2006

MC Frontalot, "Special Delivery" (words, download, "Mission Accomplished" remix).
posted by amery at 1:18 PM on April 16, 2006

Rock Against Bush
posted by savehomie at 1:21 PM on April 16, 2006

It's from a UK perspective, but Faithless has a song called "Mass Destruction" [lyrics].
posted by Aster at 1:25 PM on April 16, 2006

Pink - Dear Mr. President

Spoken, but along the same lines:
Ani DiFranco - Self Evident
Le Tigre - New Kicks
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 1:43 PM on April 16, 2006

Nine Inch Nails - The Hand That Feeds
posted by elisabeth r at 2:08 PM on April 16, 2006

I second Pink's song. We were discussing it (and other stuff) on the blue today. It's specifically about Dubya and it's brand new.

Here's a link to the full song to listen to along with the lyrics.

This should be our new national anthem.
posted by bim at 2:42 PM on April 16, 2006

Manu Chao springs to mind. See also Amazon's list.
posted by lorrer at 3:30 PM on April 16, 2006

You might be interested in a couple of tracks from Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun album: Black Rain and Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating.
posted by d-no at 4:15 PM on April 16, 2006

Ben Harper's Gather Round the Stone, as well.
posted by honeydew at 4:43 PM on April 16, 2006

(didn't know I was) unAmerican by Ian Rhett.
posted by ryanhealy at 4:48 PM on April 16, 2006

Also, Semper Fi by Ian Rhett.
posted by ryanhealy at 4:55 PM on April 16, 2006

Pearl Jam's Bushleaguer?
posted by rschroed at 6:01 PM on April 16, 2006

Another suggestion for a non-US perspective:

77% by Australian hip hop group The Herd. Critical of the current Howard administration here, with plenty of offensive language to boot.
posted by chronic sublime at 6:03 PM on April 16, 2006

KMFDM's WWIII album has some serious anti-Bush sentiment on it. I saw them perform right before the 2004 election. Rammstein's 'Amerika' is anti-American imperialism. (I rather like the video, myself) but is half in German.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:01 PM on April 16, 2006

Not to be a smartass, but perhaps the only modern protest song to accomplish its goal was I Can't Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar.
posted by sourwookie at 7:43 PM on April 16, 2006

Most of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Shake the Sheets is protesting the current state of affairs. Also, Pearl Jam's "Bush Leaguer".
posted by LouMac at 8:22 PM on April 16, 2006

Cloud Cult - Moving to Canada. Sorry can't find a place online to download it from, but it's good.
posted by JackarypQQ at 8:53 PM on April 16, 2006

The Legendary K.O. “George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People”, produced by Kanye West

Immortal Technique featuring Mos Def - "Bin Laden"

Geto Boys - "Fuck a War"
posted by roboto at 8:57 PM on April 16, 2006

Check out the party party, posted here last fall.
posted by Sand Reckoner at 9:02 PM on April 16, 2006

I second MC Frontalot's "Special Delivery." Sage Francis' "Makeshift Patriot" is excellent too.
posted by equipoise at 9:26 PM on April 16, 2006

Mos Def -"Dollar Day for New Oreleans… Katrina Klap"
posted by roboto at 10:31 PM on April 16, 2006

Yeah...Immortal Technique's got an arsenal of anti-Bush tracks. The Fourth Branch is one, The Cause of Death is another:
And just so Conservatives don't take it to heart
I don't think Bush did it, 'cuz he isn't that smart
He's just a stupid puppet taking orders on his cell phone
From the same people that sabotaged Senator Wellstone
The military industry got it poppin' and lockin'
Looking for a way to justify the Wolfowitz Doctrine
And as a matter of fact, Rumsfeld, now that I think back
Without 9/11, you couldn't have a war in Iraq
Or a Defense budget of world conquest proportions
Kill freedom of speech and revoke the right to abortions
Tax cut extortion, a blessing to the wealthy and wicked
But you still have to answer to the Armageddon you scripted
And Dick Cheney, you fuckin leech, tell them your plans
About building your pipelines through Afghanistan
And how Israeli troops trained the Taliban in Pakistan
You might have some house niggaz fooled, but I understand
Colonialism is sponsored by corporations
That's why Halliburton gets paid to rebuild nations
Tell me the truth, I don't scare into paralysis
I know the CIA saw Bin Laden on dialysis
In '98 when he was Top Ten for the FBI
Government ties is really why the Government lies
Read it yourself instead of asking the Government why
'Cuz then the Cause of Death will cause the propaganda to die..
posted by edverb at 10:41 PM on April 16, 2006

Sage Francis - "Makeshift Patriot"
posted by roboto at 10:44 PM on April 16, 2006

Here's a link to the mp3 of "Chickenhawk" by Roy Zimmerman, which was mentioned above.

He's got a new album full of contemporary topical songs coming out in a month or so.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 7:24 AM on April 17, 2006

NOFX - "Idiot Son of an Asshole"
posted by togdon at 8:15 AM on April 17, 2006

"Big Guns," by Jenny Lewis
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 8:29 AM on April 17, 2006

Since you asked about Hurricane Katrina songs: When The Storm Came Rushing In by Stephan Smith. Just found it myself and wow.

(Found through the Peace Not War site, and the link to Smith's website from their page on The Bell *embedded audio*)
posted by nelleish at 6:47 PM on April 17, 2006

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