Re: These Guys Show Green Day How It’s Done…

As if in response to Jason’s post of the other day, someone’s created a list of the top ten protest songs of the twenty-first century. I noted in the comments how little I thought of the genre as practiced today, and I won’t rehash that here.

I’ll leave it to you to judge their selections–I haven’t heard them all. I will note that neither “Hoist That Rag” by Tom Waits nor “C*nts Are Still Running the World” by Jarvis Cocker is anywhere close to a great song–far from the worst these artists have ever done, but light years from their best. And if Conor Oberst actually wrote the quoted lyrics, he shouldn’t be number one on any list–in fact he ought to fire himself as lyricist and hire, well, just about anybody.

It’s not on the list, but the guy writing the article about it mentions “Ashes of American Flags” by Wilco. I don’t pretend to know what Jeff Tweedy was writing about, since that song is from the album where they went all Radiohead, but I don’t think it’s political at all. It seems to me to be a personal song about someone who sees decay everywhere in his life. Besides, at the time it was written and recorded, there was no war to protest.

My personal pick would be Steve Earle’s “Jerusalem.” It has intelligent, heart-rending lyrics and a (probably unwarranted) note of optimism. Here it is:

(Sorry to post on Steve Earle twice in two days. Obviously I’m a fan, but that’s just the way the topics rolled.)

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2 Responses to Re: These Guys Show Green Day How It’s Done…

  1. Alex LaPointe says:

    As far as protest songs go, I always like the song “Living in America” by the Swedish band: the Sounds (not a James Brown cover). It was released less than a year after Sept. 11th 2001 and contained the lyrics” “We’re not living in America, and we’re not sorry. No we don’t care about the world today and we’re not sorry for you [America]” Not that I really agree with the message, but I’m glad they had the balls to release it and it made me proud to live in country where you could hear such a blatantly un-American song on the radio. Especially because If I wrote a song called “Sweden eats Donkey Ass (with lingonberry sauce) with lyrics deriding Abba and Ikea you know the Swedes would never play it on the radio in Sweden.

  2. […] by The Sounds In the early days of this fine blog, Jason wrote a post on protest music and I followed up.  In the comments to my post, Alex […]

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