The protest song is a classic art form that touches your head and your heart simultaneously. It makes no difference what country issued your passport. Whether it’s the stirring messages of a South American teacher, the climate of early-’70s America or walking outside your door, any song that implores you to make the world better is a great one. Our APTV video has 10 of them. It’s time to get to work.
Another great thing about protest songs is that they’re not beholden to a single genre. Novelty tracks, jazz standards, old-school punk declarations and thrashing metal can convey the need for justice. Sometimes there’s laughter, sometimes there are tears. And sometimes there is unvarnished, unfiltered rage. It’s a human condition that separates us from plankton.
At its core, our list of protest songs deal with one particular issue: control. There is always someone that’s trying to control you “in your best interests” to mask their own insidious agendas. From what you can’t say, where you can’t go “looking like that,” who you shouldn’t hang out or fall in love with, someone’s always putting their control trip on you. Well, screw that noise. The world has galvanized over the ugliness in Minneapolis and upon further reflection, the control situations that make this a way of life. But out of this unrest has to come solutions. And we’re only going to find them if we come together in a show of unity.
Protest songs are more than just “cool.” They are declarations of intent, wake-up calls to action and psychic fuel to get the job done. Sure, in today’s modern music landscape, it’s easy to forget about genres. Messages? They’re a different story. Take these songs to heart and see if it doesn’t grow a few sizes. Then take that psychic muscle and put it out into the world.