Saturday, 8 September 2018

No More Political Songs

Politics can be difficult to follow sometimes but most people break down into right-wing or left-wing and musicians generally fall into the latter category because music isn’t very right wing.
There are not many songs that highlight right wing ideals with lyrics about smaller Government, free markets and more wars against Muslim countries filled with oil or heaping praise upon right wing luminaries such as Margaret Thatcher, Donald Trump or Hitler but once you couldn't swing a cat without hitting songs espousing left-wing ideals that oppose various current political regimes, reject war or call for equality to assorted oppressed groups but the well of political songs seemed to have dried up over the last decade or so.
With so much awfulness going on around the globe you have to wonder why more artists are not turning to politics for inspiration so why are our pop stars of today afraid to say what so many of us think when when we watch the news?
Political music can act as an incredibly powerful tool for raising awareness and bringing people together if it's done well but it's not easy to write a catchy tune encompassing complex issues that also have to rhyme and scan properly.
In an interview during their politically charged 'American Idiot' days, Billy Joe Armstrong said that the reason their album was so successful here was because they were pushing a point of view against the Iraq War that was marginalised within the mainstream media in the USA in favour of flag waving pro-war fervour while here in the UK that simply wasn't the case, the UK audience just got and agreed with their anti-War message.
That there is the crux of the matter, if Green Day and other bands (remember the Dixie Chicks fracas) who take a political side that go against what the people who have the power to advertise, expose, play and put their music out there then they will wither on the vine so they just avoid that whole area altogether to avoid career suicide.
Punk and the early rap/hip hop music was political but now it's seen as bland aural wallpaper and nobody has the political, or more importantly commercial courage, to take a stand and say 'this is wrong' in a three minute format for fear of being commercially sidelined for it.

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