|In the months and years leading up to the ouster of Nixon in ’74, the airwaves were filled with the music of protest and change. Now, thirty years later, with a comparable ultra-conservative, repressive, war-mongering corporatist in the White House, the airwaves are filled with pap. The movement to dump Bush needs music, because music is positive, hopeful, energizing, powerful.
John Kerry needs an anthem. Or ten.
We need to get the most popular and competent songwriters of our time to stop with the introspective, materialistic, narrow navel-gazing blather and start writing political songs. Songs that can galvanize opposition to Bush’s war on personal freedoms, on women, on children (his No Child Left program), on the environment, on the poor, on labour, and on countries that aren’t friendly to American corporate interests. These are important issues and music is the language of awareness and change.
We need songs like Ohio, like Imagine, like The Times They Are a’Changin’, like Alice’s Restaurant, like For What It’s Worth, like What’s Goin’ On, like Mercy Mercy Me, like Edwin Starr’s War. By contrast, these modern protest songs just don’t seem to do it — and none of them is a hit on the level of any of the above ’60s and ’70s songs.
We need songs that tell stories. Stories of the returning dead and injured American soldiers that this callous president doesn’t even have the decency to honour with his presence. Stories of innocent Americans terrorized by Ashcroft’s Patriot Act stormtroopers. Stories of struggling workers discarded by greedy corporations flush with Bush’s kickback tax refunds. Stories of poor women and children and homeless people neglected and abandoned by an administration that has bankrupted the economy with war and handouts to the rich but offers nothing to those in real need. Stories of staggering environmental degradation and the poisoning of our air, water and soil, abetted by an administration that neglects to enforce meagre environmental laws and instead doles out public lands to friendly private interests at a rate unprecedented in US history, at a price that’s a fraction of their irreplaceable value. Stories of Halliburton’s corporate rapacity, of theft of a nation’s property as ‘war reparations’ and of cynical deals with despots in countries Bush is supposedly ‘liberating’.
Rolling Stone tried to get the ball rolling on this before Christmas, but so far it’s all talk and no music. I can’t believe this is a Clear Channel conspiracy. Look at the Top 100 songs and read their lyrics. It’s pathetic. The one political song is a pro-war song.
Why is it, with half a blogosphere of excellent writing about Bush’s excesses, almost none of this writing, none of this anger and energy and indignation has been set to music?
Where’s the fire? Where’s the fury? Where is the anthem that will end the reign of The Worst President in the History of the United States? What will we sing in the streets of the land, in hopeful defiance now, and on the night of November 2 in celebration of the end of the four year nightmare that this lying, scheming, cruel, cynical, incompetent president has foisted on the American people and on the world?
Cause if you want to end the war and stuff you got to sing loud.