Music about a breakup or a heartthrob is good, but what about music political overtones and social commentaries? With the 2018 Midterms just come and gone, the nation is currently on a political high. Art has always been a way for creatives to express their political opinions and commentaries, and music is one that can be overlooked fairly easily. To dive into some political musicians and songs, check out this list of 5 songs that address politics in the US.
An obvious choice for this list is Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”. Released back in May of this year, the response to this song was huge. Every post on social media was about the meaning of this song, as well as the incredible amount of imagery that Glover put into the music video. This song covers topics such as police brutality, black art, and black suffering, gun violence; the list continues. For a full and in-depth analysis, a quick google search would bring up everything you need to know.
Happy Wasteland Day delves into racial issues against African-Americans under Trump’s presidency, while also sharing some of his own personal outlook on the current situation. The pre-chorus asks for just one day a year that “they” (either referring to the government or racists, or both) take a break from the violence and hate. Much of the rest of the song continually stabs at Trump, saying that “since the man was crowned we ain’t had no sleep.”
As the opening track to their new album, Talk To Me has some bars that aren’t politically related, but instead are relating back to previous albums and criticism. However, there is still a fair amount of political content inside of the two and a half minute track. Like Happy Wasteland Day, much of the political references are that of hatred for our current president, as well as topics of racism and critique of the future of America’s government.
Rage Against The Machine is well known for their distaste in “The Man”, and this song is evident of that. This song addresses issues of racism, the rich, and the government by following the story of Mumia, an African American activist and journalist. The song also makes references the Dred Scott case, as well as George Orwell’s novel about a dystopian future, 1984.
I Am Abomination is a lesser known group, but their politically saturated lyrics set them apart from other bands similar to them. Starting off with “To our forefathers, with love!”, the song opens with a short letter to America’s forefathers, then goes on to mention umbrella themes of war, freedom of speech, the media, and life as a US citizen. The repetitive chorus drills the question, “If we are so free, then why are our minds not meant to be?”
Music is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But one thing’s for sure; music is an outlet for artists to express their opinions. Take a look at a couple of these songs, and find some others that address issues relevant to today. It can help to frame new ideas or provoke new ways of thinking that can be extremely beneficial in the state of American politics today.