Here’s a short list of some of the many protest songs that have gotten me through Iraq and through my AWOL experience.
Masters of War – Bob Dylan – Greatest protest song ever. Recently, some kids in Boulder, Colorado decided to sing Masters of War at a talent show, and Secret Service showed up. Just shows that this song still scares the government.
When The President Talks To God – Bright Eyes – Conor Oberst gives his best Bob Dylan impersonation with this brilliant song which questions just how well our president REALLY knows God.
Imagine – John Lennon – A beautifully written song, full of optimism and hope.
Peace, Love, and Understanding – Elvis Costello – “What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?” Nothing.
War Pigs – Black Sabbath – Greatest metal band of all time…made a protest song. How many metalheads jam out to this song and don’t even understand the meaning of it…sad
B.Y.O.B. – System of a Down – “Why don’t the Presidents fight the war, why do they always send the poor?” Indeed. Also, check out “Soldier’s Side” and “Boom!” also by System.
Holy Wars…the Punishment Due – Megadeth – “Killing For Religion, Something I don’t understand!” I think it’s tragically funny how every side in any war will make the claim that ‘God is on our side’
American Idiot – Green Day – How many teenage girls have rocked out to this song? Also, check out the music video for “Wake Me Up When September Ends”. Where’s the love, MTV Video Music Awards?
World Wide Suicide – Pearl Jam – Eddie Vedder’s pretty political only behind the scenes, but finally let the music speak for them on this song.
Anotomy of Your Enemy – Anti-Flag – Every song in their catalogue is an angry, intelligent protest song, but this song lays out the steps that every president will take to brainwash the public during times of war. Also check out “911 For Peace” “Gonna Die for the Government”
What’s Going On? – Marvin Gaye – “War is not the answer, only love can conquer hate”
Make Love, Fuck War – Public Enemy – Way to stick it to the man… where has all the revolutionary, activist hip-hop gone?
Letter From Iraq – Bouncing Souls – A good friend of mine, an Iraq veteran, wrote the lyrics to this song. And it is a very powerful message.
2+2=5 – Radiohead – “And it’s too late now, because you have not been payin’ attention.” References the ignorant people who have not been paying attention to the lies that were told by the administration during the buildup to the Iraq War. Radiohead is the greatest, most creative band in the world right now.
USAHoles – NOFX – Fun song, serious accusations toward Bush’s administration. Also, check out NOFX’s entire album “War on Errorism.”
Living With War – Neil Young – Felt it was his duty to make an album of original protest songs, and what a great job he did. Highlights include “Living With War” and “Let’s Impeach the President”. Listen to this album.
Emotive – A Perfect Circle – A fine collection of remakes of popular protest songs like “Imagine”, “What’s Goin’ On.” The highlight of this album is “The Fiddle And The Drum.”