Title: “Too many protest singers, not enough protest songs”
Theme: Decline of the protest song in popular music.
Inspired by: Recent elections, political apathy, the corresponding rise of the insidious ‘play list’ dictated by 20 and 30 something taste-making slaves to brand bland, uniform devotion to Converse, and the focus group.
The main point: Contemporary music can be charted along a number of defining political epochs. It was about creating a sound and a look that was new within the context of a strong feeling that the world was somehow being changed and that something radical was happening. That’s over. I don’t want it to be, but it is.
Past (with a few still present): Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie, Dylan, Joan Baez, Patti Smith, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, Punk, Billy Bragg, Springsteen, Neil Young, Ani DiFranco, Manu Chao etc. etc.
Present: Pussy Riot
The title of the abandoned post is a line taken from a song by the illustrious Edwyn Collins. Girl Like You’ was released in 1994. A trawl from that year reveals one song aspiring to protest status: Zombie by The Cranberries. I’ll let you draw your own conclusion on that fantasy.
Conclusion: Political conscientiousness and angry protest music has been hi-jacked by tofu-chewing multi-millionaire best mates of the G8 and dumbed down to a lazy ringtone. The traditional fight for justice among the musical fraternity has, more or less, been reduced to the wearing of a poxy wristband. Every second a brain is desensitised by a Mumford & Son song *claps hands* There goes another.
Reason for abandonment: I live in a time when delicate irony is contemplated over coffee so *sips* I was unable to whip myself into enough of a frenzy. The needle returns to the start of the PJ Harvey album and we all stroke our chins like before.