All We Are Saying...
Whether its raging against the machine, Robert Zimmerman urging us people to “come gather round…” so that we might admit that things are not what they used to be or need to be or John Lennon calling for Power To The People, protest music or music bringing attention to social injustice and/or calling for changes to the status quo is an important expression of ones times and beliefs. While said protest music speaks for us, it often speaks TO us.
This expressive music, in America anyway, can be tied all the way back to a time where our Southern fields were littered with humans in bondage, denied even the simplest of rights. Singing songs of persecution and spirituality was often the only form of expression these imprisoned peoples had and it stood as their form of protest, protest to the inhuman situation that had been thwarted upon them. Some protests are soft, some are loud. Some are peaceful and some are less so, but ALL call for action. The mighty Joe Strummer once said “An’ if I get aggression I give it to them two time back”. Joe saw class struggle around him and, with rage brimming over, reported the situation while also urging that we, the listener, must change today while also paving the path for a better tomorrow and we must do it…NOW!
“Protest” needn’t strictly conjure images of violence or even physical reaction. John & Yoko protested war and the revocation of human rights from their bed. The most effective and far-reaching protests are those that make others think and take action. They inspire and don’t merely dictate. The poetry that dripped from Bob Dylan’s pen emboldened and inspired an entire generation to question the society around them and his words are just as true and profound this very day. Mr. Dylan was often armed with nothing more than 6 strings, yet he wielded a magnificently powerful weapon, an amplified voice that fell upon ears yearning for real guidance and change.
We rightly draw many emotions and conclusions from music, feelings of love, laughter and anger. There’s room for it all but those that cause us to take stock of society and our place in it have existed for many years and while always relevant, their words and inspirations can have a greater weight at times when our world is rollercoasting into frighteningly dark tunnels.
Our current times are no different. We live in a present of extremely divided ideologies, morals and perceptions of the world in whole. We will not get everyone on board to where we’re at but it won’t be for lack of inspiration or caloric burn. To quote the puissant Chuck D (himself having a little fun with our beloved Beastie Boys) we must Party For Our Right To Fight.