Music as a form of anti-war protest?

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by Chalky, Jul 9, 2006.

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  1. Was sent a few tracks from the Farenheit 9/11 soundtrack, most of which have a strong anti-war, but not anti-military message (think Travellin' Soldier by the Dixie Chicks), and that got me wondering, can music ever be considered an acceptable outlet for protests against war?

    We all know music reacts to and often against the society of the time, particularly from the point of view of the yoffs of the day, but when it comes to an anti-war message it always seems to me to be a bit coy and poofy and, by and large, written by people who have no idea what they're on about that, in some cases, end up slagging of those in uniform for no good reason.

    Most anti-vietnam songs seem quaint on reflection and most anti-gulf war songs seem weak and way off the mark.

    Has music ever got it right in, say, the way film has (Platoon, Full Metal Jacket etc) and genuinely reflected the public's feelings at the time or is George Michael's Shoot the Dog the best we can expect?
     
  2. I recall a ditty from Gulf War 1:

    "Hell, No, We Won't Go
    We Won't fight for Texaco!"

    Apparently it had an alternative ending:

    "Hell, yes, send them to us
    We will fight for Scottish Brewers"

    http://www.jwsrockgarden.com/jw02vvaw.htm#message

     
  3. This sounds really really strange... but Greenday have actually come out with some of the best "anti-war" music on their latest album (american idiot), which also takes a pretty good pop at american media, american views etc

    They're the Bob Dylan and John Lennon of the modern day...

    editted to add that I agree that a lot of previous, especially anti-vietnam music, was very "quaint", but probably not so off the mark. Remember that "Give peace a chance" was a favourite of the hippies, who were a force to be reckoned with in those days. Obviously from our view point a lot of music has been written from a "peace and love" perspective which seems nieve etc, but it's the anti-services ones that get me wound up
     
  4. Masters of War- Bob Dylan

     
  5. I remember Goodnight Siagon by Billy Joel. It was actually an adaptation of the autobiography by a paralyzed anti-war veteran.
     
  6. Actually, I agree. When compared to other bands they have certainly been the most vocal in their criticism of current world events, particularly in relation to their own government's involvement.

    On that point, do you think their demographic has or is more likely to develop their own understanding of the subjects being written about, or are they more likely to adopt the view of whichever band they're listening to at the time?
     
  7. I don't actually know. You could say "young kids listening to greenday are just going to be impressionable and going along with what they think's cool" but there are a couple of problems with that. How many war protestors have you met who don't actually have a clue? They're just as impressionable and narrowminded as a teenager, if not more so. Also Greenday, having finally grown up, have broadened their appeal. My only other comment would be that perhaps some of their music is still "too subtle" (when september ends, most people think it's just a nice tune *sigh*). However, at least they have been vocal against the government outside of their music and they actually seem almost intelligent.
     
  8. I find alot of the younger kids love Greenday but dont actually listen carefully to what exactly they are singing about!
     
  9. Before the whole Iraq debacle I would perhaps have agreed, but that particular debate brought to the fore the 'informed' protestor particularly amongst the mobilised middle classes, mixed in amongst the great unwashed student masses.

    It doesn't, of course, mean that they were right or that because they had a vague idea of the actual issue they should be congratulated for finally applying their brain to something other than the Daily Mail weekend crossword, but it did show that when the issue is divisive enough political action will not fall solely to the soap-dodging animal-rights greeb with the DPM jacket and t-shirt sporting a picture of Che Guevara.

    On the point of the hippy movement wielding enormous influence, which group of political activists wield the most influence now? I'd be terrified if it turned out to be a christian group. :-(
     
  10. Minority ethnic groups... I think even the Christian movement is kept in check by being a more tolerant majority than some of the less tolerant strands of different religions that live in this country. Environmentalists also hold quite a lot of influence now, but often half of them don't have the first clue what they're on about - or mix their desire for environmental protection in with republican/communist/liberalist agendas thus devaluing their argument
     
  11. Listen to Rage Against The Machine.
     
  12. Interesting thread.

    I suppose there hasn't been much in the way of protest songs since political punk largely died in the mid 80s.

    I suppose this counts as anti-war, although it should be considered that this particular band were not
    entirely unsympathetic to the wooly face gang over the water:

    Last Night Another Soldier Lyrics - Angelic Upstarts



    Last night another soldier, last night another child
    No one seems to worry, no one sees his mother cry

    Can you see that smart, clean soldier,
    Standing straight and oh so proud
    He wants to fight for Queen and country
    He wants to make his family proud

    A job with the future, his way to get out of it
    It's his sense of romance, it never ends that way
    Last night another soldier, last night another child
    No one seems to worry, no one sees his mother cry

    They're just facts and figures on your TV screen
    Another child and another soldier, is peace just a dream

    In the country strange and foreign all the people resent him
    He can't cope with his problems, all the fears and hatred

    Now he wish he never went he wish he never thought of it
    It's not the same as fighting armies looking for the terrorists

    They're just facts and figures...

    Can you hear the mocking laughter from the ones that gain by it
    They're not in line for the bullets, they're the ones who started it

    They're just facts and figures...

    Last night another soldier, last night another child
    Just a number in the papers, another one of the innocent

    They're just facts and figures..
     
  13. Take example of Billy Bragg.
    Good singer. Good music and lyrics. Very committed to his principles. Yet from where I sit I cannot think of anything he has done that has changed the path of the world to the slightest degree.
    People listen to music to be entertained - Leonard Cohen aside. They might sing 'protest' music at demos but I know of no such song that has inspired a demo of any significance. Joan Baez had same sort of talent as Bragg but was known more for her musical talent than for her effect on things.
    Blues and (sorry) negro spirituals gave solace to the singer and others in same conditions but there was no TOTP from the Slaves Revolution.
     
  14. Anyone here heard of Anti Flag

    "Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)"

    This is a tale of liberation,this dedication song
    Broadcast it from all stations!!

    This tribute, this salute
    cold hard facts one can't refute
    #1 liberators in the world
    can kill better than ice is cold!

    To save you WE MAY HAVE TO KILL YOU!
    For freedom YOU MAY HAVE TO DIE!
    #1 at liberation
    liberating life from bodies, helping spirits fly...
    Freedom from... LIFE!

    This is a tale of liberation,this dedication song
    Broadcast it from all stations!!

    This tribute, this salute
    cold hard facts one can't refute
    #1 liberators in the world
    can kill better than ice is cold!

    To save you WE MAY HAVE TO KILL YOU!
    For freedom YOU MAY HAVE TO DIE!
    #1 at liberation
    liberating life from bodies, helping spirits fly...

    THE GOVERNMENT LIES!
    THE MASSES DIE!
    THE MILITARY LIES!
    AND WE ALL DIE!

    BROADCAST IT FROM ALL STATIONS!
    THIS IS OUR LIBERATION SONG!
    BROADCAST IT FROM ALL STATIONS!
    THIS IS OUR LIBERATION SONG!
    BROADCAST IT FROM ALL STATIONS!
    THIS IS OUR LIBERATION SONG!
    BROADCAST IT FROM ALL STATIONS!
    THIS IS OUR LIBERATION SONG!
     
  15. Yes.

    I've seen them live a few times (Reading Festival and when they were tour support to various pther punk bands), they've been going for years. The singer has a whiny, grating voice and the lyrics are pretty dire much of the time....the above track being a fine example of this!

    :D