Songs about love, protest, and revolution
February 9, 2024 3:43 PM   Subscribe

In time for Valentines Day: what are your favorite songs, especially ones that have music videos, about love, protest, and revolution? Finding love in the middle of a revolution, fighting side by side in a revolution with your lover, linking arms romantically while you hold joint protest signs, what have you? Any genres, any decade.
posted by corb to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Bella Ciao has been adapted to all sorts of revolutions, social movements, etc. Literally hundreds of covers and video montages on YouTube -- and the song itself is a man saying goodbye to his sweetheart as he is leaving to fight for freedom.
posted by virve at 4:02 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

posted by Thella at 4:29 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]

Room off the Street by Suzanne Vega
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:34 PM on February 9

Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" is a classic, but I actually love the Barenaked Ladies cover even more.
posted by Jeanne at 4:46 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]

Hippy Chick, by SoHo.
posted by orange swan at 4:46 PM on February 9

Lovers in a Dangerous Time - Bruce Cockburn (or the BNL cover)

(Jeanne: jinx!)
posted by mekily at 4:47 PM on February 9

Laugh / Love / Fuck by The Coup
Show Me Your Peace Sign by Michael Franti & Spearhead
Followed up by Baby Let's Have a Baby Before Bush Do Something Crazy
posted by mistersix at 5:00 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Vienna Teng's "St. Stephen's Cross" always gave me that kind of vibe:
They were there the night the wall was drowned
In the surging of that tidal crowd:
An old world made new
On the same holy ground
posted by invokeuse at 5:07 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Melanie Safka Lay Down
posted by goo at 5:14 PM on February 9

Do You Hear the People Sing?
Red and Black
Both from Les Miz.
posted by SPrintF at 5:23 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

"Bread and Roses"?
posted by Fuchsoid at 5:28 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

It's been a while since I've listened to Stars' In Our Bedroom After the War but it's a vague concept album that's almost entirely about that (essentially, as the title implies, about lovers in a chaotic post-war situation).
posted by edencosmic at 5:49 PM on February 9

I Saw Her In The Anti-War Demonstration, Jens Lekman

I always think that Timebomb is a kind of love song.

Rebel Girl is conventionally understood as a queer love song.

Kicking Ass For The Working Class The Strike

Photo Jenny, Belle and Sebastian. There is no demonstration in this one at all, but I feel like the milieu is intrinsically political since this is basically a t4t lovesong. I have a whole headcannon around this song; it's really catchy and to me extremely romantic.
posted by Frowner at 6:13 PM on February 9

David Bowie's Heroes. Many, many cover versions.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:15 PM on February 9

Patti Smith's People Have the Power
posted by kokaku at 6:21 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Baby, I’m an Anarchist by Against Me!
posted by sacrifix at 6:49 PM on February 9

Revolution by the Pretenders

Coming Round by Unbelievable Truth
posted by janey47 at 6:55 PM on February 9

Electric Callboy - Arrow of Love

Totally nuts, really fun.
posted by Slinga at 6:55 PM on February 9

When I got married, we had a group-sing of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin'. It signaled the two of us partnering up and planning to make a difference in the world. We're divorced now, so ... y'know, YMMV.
posted by bryon at 7:33 PM on February 9

The Ballad of John and Yoko
posted by credulous at 8:20 PM on February 9

Jefferson Airplane We Can Be Together
posted by JonJacky at 8:26 PM on February 9

World Party "Private Revolution" (featuring Sinead O'Connor)
posted by perhapses at 8:38 PM on February 9

Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" is a classic, but I actually love the Barenaked Ladies cover even more.

I agree with this so closely that I was about to type this exact same comment even down to using several of the same words.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

The Magnetic Fields - World Love
posted by Lapin at 9:07 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I think many of the songs on Tracy Chapman’s debut album fit this bill nicely, For My Lover in particular.
posted by meowmeowdream at 10:15 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Frank Turner has a couple. It is more about love between friends perhaps but I would go for Love, Ire and Song.

I also third The Barenaked Ladies’ Lovers in a Dangerous Time.
posted by Erinaceus europaeus at 10:45 PM on February 9

In Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime," it initially seems like our anonymous activist/spy protagonists are too busy for romance: "No time for dancing, or lovey-dovey." But by the end, in some kind of secret hideout: "You make me shiver, I feel so tender. We make a pretty good team."
posted by lisa g at 12:01 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

Queen of Hearts by Ficked Up (two workers fall in love at a protest outside a factory)
posted by Pink Frost at 1:00 AM on February 10

Revolution Lover by Left at London!
posted by lavenderhaze at 4:44 AM on February 10

A longtime fave:
The Staple Singers' "I'm Just Another Soldier"

You know I'm just another soldier in the army of love
I'm just another soldier in the army of love
Hup two three four; crying sometimes as I go
I'm just another soldier in the army of love

posted by mediareport at 7:21 AM on February 10

Chumbawamba, "Laughter in a Time of War"
posted by humbug at 8:19 AM on February 10

Behind the Barricades by David Rovics

As the movement grows
There will be hills and bends
But at the center of the struggle
Are your lovers and your friends
The more we hold each other up
The less we can be swayed
Here’s to love and solidarity
And a kiss behind the barricades
posted by Laura_J at 10:30 AM on February 10

Face Up and Sing is Ani DiFranco begging the people around her to join the revolution, partly because she wants to fall in love with someone who actually inspires her.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:25 AM on February 10

Green Day's album 21st Century Breakdown is a rock opera themed around love and political protest/activism, which you can get a sense of if you walk the lyrics explanations for each song on Genius. The music video for 21 Guns might fit what you seek.
posted by sigmagalator at 1:10 PM on February 10

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