In my opinion, the most beautiful quality of art is how it often encourages compassion in other human beings. Music is a particularly power medium, often changing opinions and making others feel intense emotion. For this reason, it is an excellent tool for change. In celebration of the United States’ Independence Day today, I have decided to share my new playlist, “Music is a Form of Protest.”
“Music is a Form of Protest” features 34 tracks in all genres, including artists like Nina Simone, System of a Down, Jalopy Bungus, and Childish Gambino. With a playtime of over 2 hours, this is the perfect playlist for a family get together or kickback.
More than anything, this playlist is a reminder of the great power artists have creating their perspective for others to view. Art evokes questions, and questions are needed for progress. Americans, Happy Independence Day. I hope you all use your talent to help society walk closer to love and equality.
1. Back to Amerikkka by DZE like RZA
“Back to Amerikkka” is one of my favorite tracks on this playlist. Everything from the instrumental to the cover art of this song is absolutely beautiful and flows naturally. This track is a unique and friendly reminder that we are living in “Amerikkka".” DZE like RZA’s vocals complement every element, and at just 2:20, it is easy to keep clicking replay.
2. Revolution by the Beatles
“Revolution” by The Beatles is pretty much the definition of a protest song. The upbeat sound and convincing lyrics influenced politics in the late 1960s and 1970s from the U.K. to the U.SA.. As John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote “we all want to change the world,” and maybe this is the reason why some artists write music.
3. Hypnotize by System of a Down
“Hypnotize” by System of a Down is one of the most dynamic sounding songs on this playlist, making it very strong. Some of the lyrics read “Propaganda leaves us blinded,” and propaganda is something we are all exposed to thousands of time a day The song discusses how our government controls and discourages its people from standing up for our rights.
4. Mississippi Goddam by Nina Simone
“Mississippi Goddam” by Nina Simone is perhaps one of the most popular political songs known to the United States, as it was written during an era more oppressed than today. Nina Simone wrote this song in 1964 in response to the murder of Medger Evers, a civil rights leader in Mississippi at the time. The lyrics are very direct included lines like “Picket lines/ School boy cots/They try to say it's a communist plot/All I want is equality” and most importantly “Mississippi goddam, that’s it.”
5. Not My President by CNG
By reading the title alone, it is easy to see that “Not My President” by CNG is a political statement toward the president. The artist CNG wrote this track in 2017, just after Donald Trump became president in the United States of America. He wrote it because he was distraught by the new president and his racism towards certain minority groups.
6. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2
“Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 is a classic political song that has been heard by most of us at least a dozen times. Despite its strong message, the band used to introduce “Sunday Bloody Sunday” at concerts by saying “This is not a rebel song.” From what he has been asked about the song, Bono believes the song is about the people who felt pain during Sunday Blood Sunday, not the political cause.
7. Ballad of a Politician by Regina Spektor
“Ballad of a Politician” by Regina Spektor is very distinct compared to any other political song. Regina Spektor’s voice is silky smooth, making it much easier to swallow the pill she is giving us in this track. “A man inside a room is shaking hands with other men/This is how it happens/Our world under command” reminds us simply of how our world goes round. The majority of leaders in the world are men, yet women make up about half of the world population.
8. Crawl by Kings of Leon
Because of lead singer Caleb Followill’s edgy and impressive voice, it is very difficult not to love “Crawl” by Kings of Leon. This track tells America we are in a state of digression and we need to crawl before we can walk again. Hopefully this is true and our country will face peace soon.
9. Words I Never Said by Lupe Fiasco ft. Skylar Grey
“Words I Never Said” by Lupe Fiasco covers a few controversial questions being discussed in the United States. The track questions the cause of 9/11 as well as major budget cuts in education in America. With a strong and direct message, Lupe Fiasco’s collaboration with talented vocalist Skylar Grey was really the icing on the cake for this song.
10. Formation by Beyoncé
After listening to this track and watching the video it is easy to see why “Formation” has 176 million views on Youtube. In this track, Beyoncé embraces her African American heritage and flexes on all the money she has made in America despite our country’s racist past. As soon as I heard this song and watched this video, I applauded Beyoncé for her statement. There is nothing more beautiful than a powerful black woman in America.
Although discussion of political beliefs often cause commotion between us all, it is important to look at our country as something more than just the “U.S.A.” We are millions of living people. Luckily, we have music to connect us all and songs like these show us we all care. I hope you all enjoyed this playlist. Happy Fourth of July!