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Old 01-26-2014, 05:26 AM   #151
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Oh, well, I guess Rage Against the Machine (not really my cup of tea, but they existed). Maybe Radiohead at a stretch. (not that 'political' automatically means writing narrowly-'political' or protest songs, necessarily. What is it they say, the artist's job isn't to save the world, it's to tell the truth). Probably quite a few I'm disregarding from the world of hip hop, partly out of ignorance, partly because I'm not sure which really got started before the end of the eighties.

Of the big 2000s contenders, forget it, mostly. There are probably exceptions.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:40 AM   #152
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I was thinking of excluding RATM since they haven't released a record in what, 15 years? They're not particularly active now I don't think. Radiohead do have political themes in their work but 'political' is not something you immediately associate with them, and they too have been around for a relatively long time.

There'd be a fair few in hip hop/rap, definitely, but I wasn't thinking so much about hip hop as I was the giant plain that is 'rock.'
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:40 AM   #153
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It was a big question in the UK/US during the Bush/Blair/War years as well - where are the protest songs/bands? A lot of talk, but no music. Something to do with the way the industry changed (risk taking is too risky)? Simply reflecting the way we have changed (apathy, can't make a difference so why bother...)?
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:42 AM   #154
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Can't make a difference, so why bother, might be a factor.

On the other hand, why not write about that? Lou Reed did.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:43 AM   #155
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I was thinking of excluding RATM since they haven't released a record in what, 15 years? They're not particularly active now I don't think. Radiohead do have political themes in their work but 'political' is not something you immediately associate with them, and they too have been around for a relatively long time.

There'd be a fair few in hip hop/rap, definitely, but I wasn't thinking so much about hip hop as I was the giant plain that is 'rock.'
Oh sure, RATM are long defunct, I was just trying to think of bands - bigtime bands no less - that so far as I know got started after 1990 (as opposed to seventies or eighties 'veterans').
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:45 AM   #156
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Can't make a difference, so why bother, might be a factor.
I've often suggested this is why turning out to protests is not a thing for my generation compared to previous ones. We grew up with big protests like the Sorry march, the anti-Iraq war protests, etc., and what did they do? Absolutely nothing. Achieved two-fifths of fuck-all, at least in the short term. Wouldn't shock me if that sort of mentality carried over to music. Now, if there is a political theme, it's going to be very narrowly focused on something that's pretty safe for the market (see: "Same Love", which is just a truly abysmal treatment of an important topic).
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:45 AM   #157
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WHAT ABOUT THE 2?! THEYS STILL RALLYVENT!
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:56 AM   #158
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Oh sure, RATM are long defunct, I was just trying to think of bands - bigtime bands no less - that so far as I know got started after 1990 (as opposed to seventies or eighties 'veterans').
I might as well stretch the date a bit and suggest Primal Scream (because I can't think of anything within the time period I set), although even then, the only works of theirs I'd consider to be political would be XTRMNTR and More Light. A lot of it is quite universal anti-capitalist rhetoric rather than in reference to any specific event, ie. the song 2013.

While I'm at it, I may as well throw up the Manics, who are still going strong despite not being as big as they were in the late 90s.

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I've often suggested this is why turning out to protests is not a thing for my generation compared to previous ones. We grew up with big protests like the Sorry march, the anti-Iraq war protests, etc., and what did they do? Absolutely nothing. Achieved two-fifths of fuck-all, at least in the short term. Wouldn't shock me if that sort of mentality carried over to music. Now, if there is a political theme, it's going to be very narrowly focused on something that's pretty safe for the market (see: "Same Love", which is just a truly abysmal treatment of an important topic).
I think all it could take is just one idealistic band with none of that cynical baggage attached to what you mentioned here.
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:10 AM   #159
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Well I can think of heaps of politically charged bands from the last decade, but of course they're all in genres like black metal or post-hardcore that have zero commercial potential.
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:13 AM   #160
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I've often suggested this is why turning out to protests is not a thing for my generation compared to previous ones. We grew up with big protests like the Sorry march, the anti-Iraq war protests, etc., and what did they do? Absolutely nothing. Achieved two-fifths of fuck-all, at least in the short term. Wouldn't shock me if that sort of mentality carried over to music. Now, if there is a political theme, it's going to be very narrowly focused on something that's pretty safe for the market (see: "Same Love", which is just a truly abysmal treatment of an important topic).
That one huge anti-Iraq rally (the global one, had I think over 200k out in Sydney, not far behind in Melbourne and very large numbers in other cities) did change Howard... in a way. I remember that evening he gave what was for him a very shaky interview - confidence obviously shot a bit ("oh shit, a lot of people evidently don't listen to Alan Jones"), and from then they changed the push from "WMD and Terrorism Reasons" to "Humanitarian Reasons".

I think - mentioning both "Same Love" and U2 - there are two trends in there that have an impact. Music in general (ie what is popular) is far more consistently feel good and escapist these days than ever before. Whether it's political or personal, there's just less 'angry' or 'negative' music out there. I think people look to it more as escapism, look at all the electro and shitty folky happy stuff. Right up until the turn of the century it was different, all the way through the 90s, whether it was political rock or hip-hop, or even the really cynical side of brit-pop. Kind of blew itself out when angry-dumb-white-suburban-kid had his day with things like Limp Bizkit ("fuck you because, umm, SUCK MY DICK!"). I don't know, it kind of just went away and now everything is sunshine and dancing and campfires and pretty girls and fun drugs and all the music is pastel coloured. Feel good songs, feel good feelings - and so like "Same Love" if it is somewhat political, it's about being pro something rather than anti something.

The other side of it maybe is where U2 comes in, or more specifically Bono, and just the general change in attitude toward 'celebrity' campaigning and protest, and perhaps the general distaste for that has moved over to accepted music/band themes as well. Actors in the UN, singers at Davos - everyone is a bit sick of it, and that "shut up and sing" attitude probably extends a bit. Make me happy, make me dance, take me away from this shitty bus ride to my shitty job on a shitty Monday morning and make me think of nice places and things. Re-enforce my good feelings about myself and my social feelings and political beliefs, don't tell me how I should be doing more or better. And don't lecture me about things like inequality when you're a tax dodging gazillionnaire, get back on your private jet, fly home and make me some feel good songs about love'n'shit with more of that echoey uplifting guitar and stuff
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:40 AM   #161
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That one huge anti-Iraq rally (the global one, had I think over 200k out in Sydney, not far behind in Melbourne and very large numbers in other cities) did change Howard... in a way. I remember that evening he gave what was for him a very shaky interview - confidence obviously shot a bit ("oh shit, a lot of people evidently don't listen to Alan Jones"), and from then they changed the push from "WMD and Terrorism Reasons" to "Humanitarian Reasons".

I think - mentioning both "Same Love" and U2 - there are two trends in there that have an impact. Music in general (ie what is popular) is far more consistently feel good and escapist these days than ever before. Whether it's political or personal, there's just less 'angry' or 'negative' music out there. I think people look to it more as escapism, look at all the electro and shitty folky happy stuff. Right up until the turn of the century it was different, all the way through the 90s, whether it was political rock or hip-hop, or even the really cynical side of brit-pop. Kind of blew itself out when angry-dumb-white-suburban-kid had his day with things like Limp Bizkit ("fuck you because, umm, SUCK MY DICK!"). I don't know, it kind of just went away and now everything is sunshine and dancing and campfires and pretty girls and fun drugs and all the music is pastel coloured. Feel good songs, feel good feelings - and so like "Same Love" if it is somewhat political, it's about being pro something rather than anti something.

The other side of it maybe is where U2 comes in, or more specifically Bono, and just the general change in attitude toward 'celebrity' campaigning and protest, and perhaps the general distaste for that has moved over to accepted music/band themes as well. Actors in the UN, singers at Davos - everyone is a bit sick of it, and that "shut up and sing" attitude probably extends a bit. Make me happy, make me dance, take me away from this shitty bus ride to my shitty job on a shitty Monday morning and make me think of nice places and things. Re-enforce my good feelings about myself and my social feelings and political beliefs, don't tell me how I should be doing more or better. And don't lecture me about things like inequality when you're a tax dodging gazillionnaire, get back on your private jet, fly home and make me some feel good songs about love'n'shit with more of that echoey uplifting guitar and stuff
That's probably quite a fair summation.

Of course even if one shies 100% away from politics, or the possbility of any change in the world at large (there will always be change, at some point, just maybe not in our hands) there are still the depths of the human heart to plumb.

This shiny-happy shit though, I can't get with it. I agree, it's a thing.

People might respect U2 and Bono a bit more if their politics weren't so beige. I mean I don't expect doctrinaire ideological purity here guys, but at some point the content just bled out of their music. Yes, maybe Bono did some good work, maybe it helped, maybe it didn't, but it didn't help his art.
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:58 AM   #162
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Yeah, I tend to agree with this. On the surface, there's really nothing to get behind and for someone of my age there's really nobody around (at that age) that you can say 'yeah, you got a great point there etc' to.

In some ways these indie folk acts everywhere are all a bit ... defeatist?
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:47 AM   #163
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I might add that I don't have a fundamental problem with escapism... if it's interesting. There's always got to be someone who sings about worlds that will never be.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:05 PM   #164
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Anyone listening to the Hottest 200-101 right now? It's going OK, though the person announcing it seems a bit clueless, claiming Franz Ferdinand were one of the inventors of indie rock. Uhh yeah, about that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earnie Shavers View Post
I think - mentioning both "Same Love" and U2 - there are two trends in there that have an impact. Music in general (ie what is popular) is far more consistently feel good and escapist these days than ever before. Whether it's political or personal, there's just less 'angry' or 'negative' music out there. I think people look to it more as escapism, look at all the electro and shitty folky happy stuff. Right up until the turn of the century it was different, all the way through the 90s, whether it was political rock or hip-hop, or even the really cynical side of brit-pop. Kind of blew itself out when angry-dumb-white-suburban-kid had his day with things like Limp Bizkit ("fuck you because, umm, SUCK MY DICK!"). I don't know, it kind of just went away and now everything is sunshine and dancing and campfires and pretty girls and fun drugs and all the music is pastel coloured. Feel good songs, feel good feelings - and so like "Same Love" if it is somewhat political, it's about being pro something rather than anti something.

The other side of it maybe is where U2 comes in, or more specifically Bono, and just the general change in attitude toward 'celebrity' campaigning and protest, and perhaps the general distaste for that has moved over to accepted music/band themes as well. Actors in the UN, singers at Davos - everyone is a bit sick of it, and that "shut up and sing" attitude probably extends a bit. Make me happy, make me dance, take me away from this shitty bus ride to my shitty job on a shitty Monday morning and make me think of nice places and things. Re-enforce my good feelings about myself and my social feelings and political beliefs, don't tell me how I should be doing more or better. And don't lecture me about things like inequality when you're a tax dodging gazillionnaire, get back on your private jet, fly home and make me some feel good songs about love'n'shit with more of that echoey uplifting guitar and stuff
This is an excellent take.
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"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 01-26-2014, 07:46 PM   #165
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Some of their announcers are pretty clueless. Particularly when some band's song from like five years ago gets introduced as 'old school <whoever>'. Yeah, not an absolute terrible rundown from what I can see.
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