Political songs tend to come in bunches, stemming from a major cultural incident that persuades the populace to rebel against their leaders. And so far, the 2000s have not been short on protest-worthy moments.
The late 60s through the early 70s were arguably the apex of political musicianship, as the Vietnam War had pushed artists like Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sam Cooke, and Bob Marley to voice their dissent in song. It was an amazing time for melodic civil unrest.
But anyone who asks “Where have all the great protest songs gone?” clearly hasn’t been paying close enough attention over the last couple of decades. Because that kind of music didn’t go away with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. There’s still plenty to be angry about, and there are still plenty of people ready to translate that anger into powerful music that stands in the face of injustice.
Some of these songs inspired a movement, but most were a reaction to one that was already in progress. Either way, they continued one of music’s finest traditions: steering the cultural conversation with a beat, a melody, and a message.