With the election in full swing, take a look at some of the best politically charged songs from the scene. Over the last three decades, bands such as Rage Against The Machine, Anti-Flag and Against Me! have left their stamp on politics, letting their stance be known. Whether it’s a presidential disagreement or a response to constant war, check out the best political rock songs below.
Against Me! – “From Her Lips To God’s Ears (The Energizer)”
Appearing on their third album, Searching For A Former Clarity, punk favorites Against Me! delivered a killer track as the narrator seems to be talking directly to Condoleezza Rice, the second Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace throws several digs at Rice, from “constant war for constant soldiers” to “after all this death and destruction, do you really think your actions advocate freedom?” Oh Condoleezza, do you get the fucking joke?
The Cranberries – “Zombie”
The lead single from their second album, No Need To Argue, heard the Cranberries tackle the 1993 IRA (Irish Republican Army) bombings that occurred in Warrington, Cheshire, England. There were two different attacks, with the latter killing two children while leaving 54 others injured. The Cranberries released “Zombie” in memory of the two children who were killed, Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry.
Rise Against – “State Of The Union”
The first track on their third album, Siren Song Of The Counter Culture, gives way to an angry Rise Against. It was released in the middle of 2004 during the midst of the Bush administration, shortly following the Iraq invasion. Their stance couldn’t be any clearer: “State of the union address/Reads war-torn country, still a mess/The words: power, death, and distorted truth/Are read between the lines of the red, white and blue.”
Anti-Flag – “Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man” –
Anti-Flag grabbed the title “Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man” from a John Perkins book of the same name. The inspiration centered around a semi-autobiographical takedown of the corporatocracy. Frontman/guitarist Justin Sane and his longtime activist wrecking crew made it their own in this “iron fist for blood.”
Motionless In White – “America” –
Motionless In White took a cinematic turn in revealing the gritty, personal layers of faded American glory. Vocalist Chris Motionless pulls back the shiny veneer atop the sinister American dream: “We take medication to be someone else/And we take off our clothes to pay for the bills/Where downloading content will buy you a sentence/And murder is free in the Hollywood Hills.”
Palaye Royale – “Massacre, The New American Dream”
With a heavy focus on the current state of our country, Palaye Royale dove head first into the gun violence epidemic and the effects of Big Pharma. Proceeds from the single sales of “Massacre, The New American Dream” are being donated to March For Our Lives and Giffords: Courage To Fight Gun Violence.
Green Day – “American Idiot”
The politically charged, Grammy-nominated middle finger to the 43rd president is still as important today as it was in 2004. In fact, Green Day have been switching the line to “the subliminal mind-Trump America” in the last few years.
Thursday – “Autobiography Of A Nation”
This track is packed full of the classic Thursday sound, with frontman Geoff Rickly screaming out their message to a country that’s willing to take everything: “We have burned their villages and all the people in them died/We adopt their customs and everything they say we steal/All the dreams they had we kill.”
Rage Against The Machine – “Killing In The Name”
This early ’90s anthem from Rage Against The Machine is a song we’ve been singing for decades about institutional racism and police brutality, themes that are both ever-present in the world today.
The Killers – “Land Of The Free”
The Killers echo similar themes to Rage Against The Machine’s message with their song “Land Of The Free.” Frontman Brandon Flowers’ incredible range explodes over racism, vast incarceration numbers, gun violence and immigration on this track that’s perfect for its time.
What’s your favorite political song from the scene? Let us know in the comments below!