"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Where Is The Voice Of Protest In Today's Music?

Photo of Audioslave

Band Photo: Audioslave (?)

MTV.com has an article that discusses that issue with Tom Morello (Audioslave, ex-Rage Against The Machine) as well as Public Enemy's Chuck D and Anti-Flag singer Justin Sane. There are no revelations there, but it makes for an interesting, if not thought-provoking, read. Here's an excerpt:

"When you see footage of demonstrations from the 1960s and early '70s (usually anti-war or pro-civil rights) on television, it's almost invariably accompanied by a protest song from the era — by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon or another activist-minded performer. Such songs were everywhere at the time — so you'd figure, with social unrest at its highest level since the 1970s, that today's airwaves and charts would be buzzing with angry songs, right?"

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.

You can get related band news and info in the sidebar and on the respective band pages.


19 Comments on "Where Is The Voice Of Protest In Today's Music?"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. Kale writes:

personally, I don't want my music to preach to me. I don't go to metal shows to hear about how the government is f***ing us all over, I go to metal shows to unwind from a stressful week of work and classes. I don't need bands forcing their own political views down my throat in every song they play. I can make up my own mind from information I see on the news, and articles I read in the paper. When I throw in a cd, I don't want it there too. Entertainment is entertainment, and all other issues should fit into their own respective catagories. Keep the government out of my music, and I'll be happy.

# May 20, 2006 @ 12:21 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. heavy hepp writes:

maybe these f***ing dumbasses didn't hear lamb of god's ashes of the wake album. that is a voice of protest. the only reason it is not getting recognition is because real metal never gets the recognition it deserves

# May 20, 2006 @ 2:12 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. bernie writes:

If people dont want to hear politics in music then dont f***en buy or listen to the music and continue to be stupid like every idiot in this country who is ok with this God damn system.

# May 20, 2006 @ 3:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. SlayerRulz writes:

Yeah, even LOG is gonna be less political on their next disc. I think being political or protesting something dates the music. Plus, it just ends up sounding like whining. I don't wanna hear that sh it in my music. I'd rather hear about violence, gore, murder, drinking, hell-raising or the occasional inner feelings. But being as I work in a warehouse, I'm really not all that political and what goes on in Washington doesn't really effect me one way or the other except that when Republicans are in the White House my taxes always seem to go down. As far as the war, I was for it, but now I'm against it cause I don't know why we're there. It's not blood for oil cause my fuel prices have gone up, not down. I think I would be ok with a war for oil cause oil runs this country, plus I get sick of hearing from over-previledged college kids who think they know it all bashing Bush just because they are sheep and see other people doing it. Except for Marvin Gaye and John Lennon, look at that list and tell me the others aren't dinosaur has-beens that it's fun to make fun of because of their antiquated beliefs. And just what has anti-war protesting accomplished so far? Hmmm? Anything? You actually think Bush or anyone in the government looks at idiot kids on college campuses and says, "Oh, well if those kids who have never lived in the real world think we should get out of Iraq then I guess we better!" Or "Wow! If those musicians, many of whom never even graduated high school and live wealthy lives while all the time pretending to be the common man think we should end the war then by god I think we shold too!" Naw, ain't gonna happen. I'd rather spend my time enjoying violent aggressive music instead of thinking about stupid political nonsense. Get over it.

And having said all that I DO think our men and women need to come home. America rules! And every country that gets invaded knows it cause we are the first country they call for help.

# May 20, 2006 @ 10:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. potato writes:

where's the revoultion? I tell where it is, its gone. Today, bands dont care about their message just jumping on the popular bandwagon to get masses of fans to follow them (for the most part). And fans today, for the most part are consumed by media outlets such as MTV and (to a lesser extent) Fuse which shove meaningless crap down their throats, who make them think their rebelling by listening bands like My Chemical Romance and the Used.The revoultion has been consumed by pop-culture, therefore the revoultion is now not the revoultion but rather the normal. Either that or this generation is too p***y to stand up and protest.

# May 20, 2006 @ 10:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
jim's avatar

Member

6. jim writes:

Voice of protest? Good luck finding anything like that in the A.D.D. generation. Let's face it, complacentcy is the fad. Unfortunatly most of my peers (16-22 year olds) could care less about the world at large. There's a simple reason for this too. There has been no major infringment on their rights. Until one of these far left or far right nut jobs makes the mistake of stepping on he youths toes, there will be no major protest. If things don't change soon i bet you anything that in sixty years, when social welfare is a memory and social security has lost it's meaning, we'll see some A.D.D. youth all grown up and b****ing about what they should have fixed. I've said it before and i'll say it again, the A.D.D. generation will bring us down.

# May 20, 2006 @ 12:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. rising end writes:

blood for oil...says SlayerRulz, well the oil was certainly the factor for the war. but you dont see this, its not about gas prices my friend...

you're looking in the wrong place, the fight for oil only benefits republicans and the high class who have any kind of share in the US oil industry, they are right now getting contracts, direct control over Iraqi oil, and the commodity to adjust prices at the expense of the consumer. so you say that the war wasn't for oil because you dont see benefits for the consumer in the gas market?

well that because our soildiers are fighting a war, not for our sake, but for the sake of big business executives' pockets.

and as far as protest in music, well is good to voice your opinion but like many here i believe if done the wrong way protesting about socio-political issues comes off as whiny.

# May 20, 2006 @ 3:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

8. RememberMetal? writes:

Bands with a political message: SOAD, RATM, Pearl Jam, Lamb of God, Fugazi, Refused, Bad Religion, Ministry, A Perfect Circle... (one very sh**ty album...even though I agree with the message) hell even Radiohead have songs about Bush Sr, Clinton, and Bush Jr so many others that I'm missing.

Tool and NIN made their messages a bit more subtle (if you look carefully through the lyrics in 10,000 days and With Teeth you can connect the dots, they just arent naming names).

The problem is there aren't enough smart bands/acts that are both politically savvy and so accessible that people will eat it up like with John Lennon and Marvin Gay.

The most popular music is still about:

"gettin' tipsy at the club"

"babies in the crossfire",

"she left me again, time to cut myself s'more"

and been-done-for-45-years Nascar watching rodeo supporting country musicians who tout their civic pride, love of god and worship of our draft dodging president to drum up sales in south and midwest.....

# May 20, 2006 @ 5:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BLACKDOG's avatar

Supporter

9. BLACKDOG writes:

It all started regrettably dureing the decadent 80's with band's like MOTLEY CRUE,RATT,CINDERELLA,POISON etc.Yeah that stuff was fun but there was no real substance when you get right down to it.Hair Metal as it were was really nothing more than what the current Rap trend is right now as much as I hate to say it.Or Bling Bling from the other side of the fence so to speak.

# May 20, 2006 @ 5:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. writes:

shut up

# May 20, 2006 @ 9:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BLACKDOG's avatar

Supporter

11. BLACKDOG writes:

no

# May 20, 2006 @ 9:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

12. RememberMetal? writes:

I think mindless music goes back to dawn of radio itself.

Stupid music is older than any living human today (ragtime, polka etc), I just think the 80's drove us to a new low and it's been an impossible climb back up....I think maybe humans NEED stupid or simple music.

I don't listen to much thats been considered popular rock but I do like to get what I consider my "quick fix" music.

Metal thats simple and to the point.

Theres not alot of digestion or adjusting. It's instant gratification, like junk food (Unlike say Tool, Pigdestroyer, Merzbow, Radiohead, DEP, DTB, Opeth anything by Mike Patton).

Quick fix bands for me would be bands like Trivium, Devil Driver, Sevendust, Deftones and Hatebreed etc....Music that may not be perfect in the context of lyrics, instrumental dynamics, vocals etc...but it's good enough for a trip to the bar, a friends house etc.

# May 20, 2006 @ 10:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BLACKDOG's avatar

Supporter

13. BLACKDOG writes:

Besides it's hard to right a song about thing's that really matter that could possibly change the world.When you live in a country where the citizens are more worried about who won American Idol than who's winning the presidential election.HELL IN A HANDBASKET EXACTLY WHERE THIS COUNTRY IS HEADED !

# May 21, 2006 @ 12:09 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. Silence Is Deafening writes:

"Where Is The Voice Of Protest In Today's Music?"

here's just a small list of bands that take a political awareness

Napalm Death - The Code Is Red...Long Live the Code.
Lamb of God - Ashes of the Wake.
Megadeth - The System Has Failed.
Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor.
God Forbid IV: Constitution of Treason.

# May 21, 2006 @ 9:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
jnsguts's avatar

Member

15. jnsguts writes:

again, blackdog, i agree with you. when you live in a time when everyone is so apathetic about any relevant issue, and is so much of a p***y that they can't come up with an original thought or god forbid be an original person, instead of just another sheep in the herd, what good would it do to have intelligent messagea in music.. don't get me wrong, i love my metal, and my metal state of mind, and my metal lifestyle, and i really can't knock anybody for liking the quick fix stuff like remembermetal stated, and really, when i go to a concert or just out to the local rock venues, i want to get messed up and rock out, i don't want to have to think about what i'm hearing. but my point is, even if there was a voice of protest in today's music, how many would actually know it?? and if they did realize they were listening to a protest song, they would do just as i've seen so many onm this site do " aw f***, my band has a political message now they are gay fa**ots and i wont listen to them anymore".... all you have to do is read previous posts in this and other threads to see how true that is!! with the fan base metal has today, I MEAN THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE ONLY BEEN AROUND THE METAL SCENE FOR A SHORT WHILE, why would these bands send a message that would fall on deaf ears anyway?? but that's just my opinion...HIMMM!!!!

# May 21, 2006 @ 6:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
psythe's avatar

Writer, Reviewer

16. psythe writes:

well, you know what they say - ignorance is bliss... and in respect to that, humanity is having what seems to be a continuous, endless orgasm...

# May 21, 2006 @ 7:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BLACKDOG's avatar

Supporter

17. BLACKDOG writes:

Yeah...This is all true & don't get me wrong.I love the stupid sexist ignorant stuff.Some of the most pointless song's I personnally happen to love were written by some of the greatest song writers of all time.Examples would include Prince's Darling Nicki who's most thought provoking song in my opinion was Sighn of the Times.Then againe he also gave us p***y Control.(Which sound's silly but when you listen to the song it's actually about empowerment).Also as much as I hate to say it.AXL ROSE is another pretty good example.I would have never expected a guy who wrote Rocket Queen & It's So Easy to have written Civil War.But like I saide people in this country are more concerned about who Paris hilton is f***ing as opposed to why gas prices keep going up.SIGHN OF THE TIMES INDEED !!!!!!!

# May 21, 2006 @ 11:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
18. Conservative Propaganda writes:

Many bands im sure would like to protest but many if not all the majority of the Record Labels out their are owned by big buisness , thats why u see people who have already sold millions of records doing protest songs. Im sure the record labels discourage newer artist from doing such things in order for them to make $$$$$$$$$$$

# May 22, 2006 @ 3:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. wake up writes:

bands now seem to be writing about personal struggle and since music is a reflection of the people who listen to it thats what the people are focusing on their is no sence of a group or people banding together whats important is metal is a powerful tool and change is coming to me things now are sort of like the 80s and early 90s everyone is closing their eyes to the outside world but just like that died so will this people need to stand up for their selves

# May 31, 2006 @ 12:18 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.