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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Elvis Fu » Music » Protest Music from (men in their) Sixties

We have a gang of lackluster leaders on the national stage, wars against undefinable enemy, gasoline that's expensive enough to gripe about without actually consuming less and civil liberties getting sucked out the window as if someone opened the Emergency Exit on Air Force One. Now I'm not one of those who runs around alternately screaming/weeping about the End Times, but we've obviously done better for ourselves as Americans.

So where's all the good protest music?

John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son". Neil Young's "Ohio", or Stephen Stills' "Find the Cost of Freedom" on the flipside. Bob Dylan. And in case symbolism or subtlety isn't your bag, spend a few minutes with Edwin Starr yelling, "War! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing."

What do the kids have today? Green Day. Actually, even that was a couple years ago. The Dixie Chicks get all sorts of press for public statements, but to my knowledge their songwriting still has little in common with Billy Bragg.

The big names in protest music right now are not only from The Sixties, but they are also in their sixties. Neil Young has worked up the Hannity Crowd with his Living in War album, featuring "Let's Impeach the President." I'm consider myself to be a solid Neil Young fan. I'm also don't feel limited to just admiring his music. Young outraged some of his 1960s peers and Rolling Stone magazine by publicly supporting some of Ronald Reagan's policies.

I had planned to use this next paragraph praising Young's non-partisanship, but I think he describes it better than I can: I don't have a view, I have an opinion that changes because everyday is a different day.

I'm not a liberal or a conservative. I'm not like that. With Reagan, some things he did were terrible, some things he did were great. Most people tend to take a president and say you hate...he does one thing you really don't like. Like he builds excessive amounts of warheads or something. So you write him off completely. Which I think is completely stupid. And I think, is very narrow minded.

Anyone can have an opinion and be right, like you don't want warheads on earth. I agree with that, but that is a decision that he made to do that and I disagree with that. On the other hand there are other things that he did that I agreed with. And because I had the ability to say what I feel, people only write part of it, because its news that I would agree with Reagan. So they say Neil Young supports Reagan, so fuck 'em, I don't care what they do.

Here's the good part. I'm not a huge Colbert Report fan, but Young recently appeared on the show, and I thought both Young and Colbert performed flawlessly.

Another songwriter from the 60s-70s has unveiled a new protest song as well. Kris Kristofferson. The song is called "In the News", and you can watch a Flash video here. The song isn't great, but it's not bad. The video is a bit pushy, Kristofferson's strength is in his words, not pictures of GWB giving the finger to Earth. It's still a song that has been crafted, not some hamfisted effort as effigy like "American Idiot" or that George Bush is Dum LOL Vol. 2 with four songs from Bad Religion surrounded by Fat Wreck bands you can pick up for $4 at your local record store.


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