One thing that a crisis usually throws up is usually great protests and great protest songs. This pandemic is no exception, but with artists in lockdown and restricted like all of us it has had to be very different. Some bands and singers have used live streaming sessions to introduce new songs or covers of the greats. There are way too many protest songs to mention in this post, although feel free to contribute your favourites in the comments below. I will include three here, one very much from the current generation, one from my generation and another from the generation from before me, well kind of, the latter at 74 is 13 years older than me 🙂 The three tunes cover Black Lives Matter, the UK government and the Orange Moron in the White House.
First up is British singer Jorja Smith who had her first hit back in 2016. Her song, “By Any Means” is the first single from an upcoming Roc Nation Records compilation that collects together other great protest songs focussed on a social justice theme. Jorja said this about the song “It really came from going to the Black Lives Matter protest and leaving thinking, what can I do to keep this conversation going? It’s not just a post on social media, its life.” The music is a sparse and dark take on modern R & B which fits Jorja’s exquisite vocals and powerful lyrics perfectly.
Second it is the turn of West Yorkshire Superheroes Percy, one of my favourite current bands. “Rubbernecking In The UK” is the third single to be taken from their rather spiffing album ‘Seaside Donkeys’. The song is perhaps more of a protest about modern life, misogyny and voyeurism. However the video, produced by Hot Frog Animations, no doubt with lots of input from the band takes it to another level. The portrayal of UK Government Tsar Dominic Cummings and his cuckold Boris Johnson is funny and scary (because of the reality of where the UK is) in equal measure. The song is an infectious driving slice of post punk perfection.
Finally the older generation is represented by Neil Young. This is not a new song but an acoustic reworking of “Lookin’ For A Leader” from his 2006 album ‘Living With War’. But he hasn’t just given it an acoustic makeover, Mr Young has rewritten the lyrics to point a finger directly at Moron in Chief Donald Trump, a man who makes Dubya look like a genius. I always loved this song in it’s original guise and the new take is perfect for these times.
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