Green Day, Rage Against The Machine and Against Me! all still use their musical platforms to share their frustrations with the world when it comes to politicians and government issues. These pioneers paved the way for younger political musicians to continue creating songs that spark dialogue, even outrage, with their songs and music videos. Climate change, immigration and gun control are just a few of the issues bands and artists are discussing today.
With the 2020 election just around the corner, these issues are being discussed frequently on the news and across the internet. Below are 10 modern-day musicians who are standing up and speaking out about their political grievances to motivate listeners to do the same.
YUNGBLUD is a leading rock ’n’ roll voice for the underrated youth. Through his songs, he shares how scary modern life is for young people. In “Machine Gun (F**k The NRA),” he addresses the epidemic of school shootings in America, as the issue is talked about overseas, and Americans and non-Americans alike are upset and confused by it. YUNGBLUD also tackles issues regarding mental health and the government’s answers for it with tracks such as “Doctor Doctor” and “Medication” from 21st Century Liability.
Singer-songwriter K.Flay takes a critical approach to government action on climate change in her song “Not In California.” She uses her platform to criticize inaction, but she also uses it as a source of good to hopefully set the world in the right direction. Another popular political song of hers is “The President Has A Sex Tape,” which criticizes political hypocrisy and laws regarding women’s bodies. Recently, her and grandson teamed up to create “Peaches.” She was the first artist featured on grandson’s project XXWHy, where he’s releasing an acoustic collaboration every month until this year’s presidential election. Each track will feature “Text Voter XX to 40649” at the end of the title.
grandson is vocal about many of his issues with the current state of America. In “Thoughts And Prayers,” he reinforces the idea that politicians who tweet out “Thoughts and prayers” after a tragedy involving guns are at fault for not passing legislation to protect kids in schools and people in public places. grandson also screams powerful melodies about greed and capitalism in “bills,” and he covers the topic of xenophobia in “war.” Every bit of grandson’s discography covers different issues in American and international politics. Songs like these can open up conversations and may motivate people to act and change.
4. FEVER 333
FEVER 333 are known for their heavy riffs and their straightforward feelings about the current state of the world in their lyrics. In “Made An America,” vocalist Jason Butler discusses police brutality and other issues affecting minority communities.” In much of their discography, they write about race relations in songs such as “PREY FOR ME” and “ONE OF US,” making for powerful messages that resound with listeners across the world.
5. Enter Shikari
Enter Shikari have a lot to say throughout their whole discography about English (and even some American) politics. In “Take My Country Back,” singer Rou Reynolds sings of his desire to move forward, but his country is regressing via hateful media and catty politicians. Reynolds is also passionate about climate change and uses festival stages to discuss the scary reality we all may face if we don’t address this serious issue that affects everyone.
Poppy may look like an innocent pop star on the outside, but she delivers hard truths and graphic messages in many of her songs. In “Fill The Crown,” she’s critical of politicians who turn a blind eye to many tragedies happening in the world and don’t use their power correctly. She also touches on themes of religion throughout her discography, especially on this track, calling out its place in politics.
Badflower aren’t subtle about how they feel about leadership in the United States. In “Die,” they call for the president’s impeachment (“and all of his friends”). With many policies reversing environmental standards and hurting social progression such as immigration, Badflower felt called to write.
8. Hobo Johnson
Slam poet, rapper and singer Hobo Johnson used his platform to detail an, albeit funny, story about the evolution of humans and where we are today with “You & The Cockroach.” He shares how the government was set up to establish order but actually created more conflict than anything else. This tongue-in-cheek piece also compares the POTUS’ fingers to “lil smokies” and makes other jokes about international politicians.
9. Cherry Glazerr
L.A.-based Cherry Glazerr is a feminist icon. Her work isn’t explicitly about any particular government official—rather, it tackles issues faced by young women in the U.S. She covers themes of patriarchy in “Daddi,” where men seemingly control every decision. Few women are in high leadership positions, so her song checks out on a bunch of levels.
10. Pussy Riot
Russian band Pussy Riot are all about making political statements. They stand for feminism and protesting. In fact, members have even been arrested for protesting at various events. In “Make America Great Again,”, the band criticize Donald Trump for his policies and even imitate him in the Oval Office in the video. For sensitive viewers, be warned that the video is a little graphic. In the video’s caption, the band write, “#PussyGrabsBack #NastyWoman (!) Because YOU decide elections and if we get together, we could blow this shit up, take action and reverse this erosion of rights. Because f*ck it.”