Earlier this year, I received an email from Dave:
What has happened today to the art of the protest song?
In the ’60s and ’70s, music was the voice of change, counter-culture and a generation. Alternative rock in the ’90s had some bands that carried the torch. But who carries it now?
In an era of Donald Trump, the 1% protests, #MeToo movements, etc., you would think that alternative music would be ripe to provide a soundtrack of bringing issues to light, but that is not the case. I can’t think of a mainstream protest song in recent years, except for Pearl Jam’s latest release and also Gord Downie’s activism with aboriginal rights. Red carpet celebrities do speak on their platform, but I don’t see new alternative bands taking a stance in their music.
Is this a result of news outlets already taking sides, or is society’s questioning of authority now common? Or has the business model for record labels changed so much that protest songs aren’t good for business?
I would love to hear your view on this.
These are all good questions that deserve answers.
There’s more than ever to protest about, especially in America.
Music is a cultural feedback loop and is always found downstream from what is happening in society. And thanks to the 24-hour news cycle —doesn’t it seem like it’s more like a six-hour cycle now? — bad news and conflict are coming at us faster and in greater quantities.
Let’s make a list of why anger is in the red.