By: Serena Bains, Staff Writer
Politics in music has always been present, especially in the punk, rap, rock, and metal genres. However, anytime a political artist makes a statement about the politician they are supporting that is consistent with their political ideology, there is significant backlash. This backlash comes from fans who must have been listening to the music for the sound, while ignoring the overt political messages in the lyrics of the artist’s repertoire. So, if you are looking for songs with overt political messages that are just loud enough to ignore, or maybe even pay attention to, give these songs a listen.
“Testify” by Rage Against the Machine
Written ahead of the 2000 U.S. presidential election, the war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq, this song was something of a premonition of the United States’ continued imperialism in the Middle East. The rock song became an anthem of a series of protests which preceded and succeeded the 2000 election. Which made it all the more surprising in 2020, when conservatives were shocked to find out the band’s political views were antithetical to theirs. What machine did people think they were raging against exactly?
“White America” by Eminem
Eminem is no stranger to controversy, given the misogynistic and homophobic lyrics that were especially prevalent in his earlier works. “White America,” which was released in 2002, provided a more conscious perspective that was previously limited. The song, which speaks to Eminem’s success being a result of his skin colour rather than his skills as an MC, was one of his first overtly political tracks. In 2017, the Detroit rapper made his stance against racism known to his largely white audience, when he drew a line in the sand between his fans and people who support Trump.
“Holiday” by Green Day
The band best known for “American Idiot” wrote “Holiday” in response to the war in Iraq. The song, which compares George W. Bush to Hitler, speaks to the military-industrial complex and people’s apathy regarding invading a sovereign nation, was the most politically charged song on the album. Yet somehow, the band’s political views were still unclear to some when the band’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong told supporters of Trump, “Don’t listen to my fucking records.”
If you are looking for more songs that have loud political messages, but have not had outrage expressed at them just yet, check out the following:
“Parasite Eve” by Bring Me the Horizon
“Greater Omaha” by Desaparecidos
“JU$T” by Run the Jewels