Where's the concern? Where's the voice of social consciousness - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-22-2004, 04:38 AM   #1
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Where's the concern? Where's the voice of social consciousness

In the 1960's we had a surging revolution by way of protest rock with the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Pete Seager, etc. Today it seems that despite a greater need for descenting voices in lieu of fallicious wars, increasing numbers of corporate crimes and seemingly escalating unemployment, we are left with songs of love and bling-bling to dominate the radio airwaves.

Does this trouble anyone else? I understand the reasons, but considering the overwhelming state of despair most of us are feeling, it seems more rebellous rock/folk/r&b tunes would slither their way into the mainstream.

Where are this generation's songs like "Rockin' in the Free World", "Like a Rolling Stone", "War", "Share the Land", and heck, I'll even throw in Men at Work's "It's a Mistake" and Nena's "99 Luft Balloons"; even the 1980's had a few protest songs.
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Old 07-22-2004, 04:46 AM   #2
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I just wanted to add the lyrics to Men at Work's "It's a Mistake". It hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart in July of 1983.

The songs ahead of it on the chart were David Bowie's "Let's Dance", Irene Cara's "Flashdance...What a Feeling", The Police "Every Breath You Take", Michael Jackson's "Beat It", and the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).

The song is about the proliferation of nuclear weapons between the USA and Russia and the possible deleterious results of a nuclear fallout; deep shit for mainstream radio...
****************************************************
"It's a Mistake": Men at Work. From the album "Cargo".


Jump down the shelters to get away
The boys are cockin' up their guns
Tell us general, is it party time?
If it is can we all come

Don't think that we don't know
Don't think that we're not trying
Don't think we move too slow
It's no use after crying
Saying

It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake

After the laughter as died away
And all the boys have had their fun
No surface noise now, not much to say
They've got the bad guys on the run

Don't try to say you're sorry
Don't say he drew his gun
They've gone and grabbed old Ronnie
He's not the only one saying

It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake

Tell us commander, what do you think?
'Cos we know that you love all that power
Is it on then, are we on the brink?
We wish you'd all throw in the towel

We'll not fade out too soon
Not in this finest hour
Whistle your favourite tune
We'll send a card and flower
Saying

It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake
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Old 07-22-2004, 06:46 AM   #3
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Meh, the last year or so, anytime a celebrity has tried to voice their opinion on the big issues, they were told to shut up, 'cause they were a celebrity, so what did they know?

There have been a few songs here and there, mostly from some newer punkish bands, from what I hear, but yeah, we need more of this kind of thing.

Angela
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:35 AM   #4
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I chock this up to its what your watching...not what ya want to see.
ya watch MTV ...your going to see the money makers

ya listen to your college radio station , you may get something more meaningful..something that the idealistic angry young person thinks ya ought to hear. but even then the college radio types are the nerdy stoners who know there way round some buttons and may only play rusted root or guster and things that are pleasant but dont always send a message.
why dont YOU be the developer.
YOU be the person who delivers the message
I know I try to .
I have an audience of 3.
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:47 AM   #5
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I long to spawn change in our society, but for the past 15-20 years I can't think of but a few blatantly political songs that broke the barrier of mainstream radio.

I can't understand why people will listen to songs by Usher and Maroon 5, but scuff at anything that makes them THINK! I'm compelled to say 'the hell with it'. If people aren't curious as to the injustices of the world and pay the consequences as a result, don't they deserve their fate?
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Old 07-22-2004, 08:09 AM   #6
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welp..you have to look at the ages of the audience of Usher as an example...
the percentages of the population/ take the videos for instance they show people of an adult age dancing witht his guy but my guess is the audience / the people that download and buy the stuff are much younger.

and consider the fact that people want to be entertained....people want to escape.

U2 provides entertainment AND escape AND social awareness...
ALL 3 AT THE SAME TIME!
thats what makes em so amazing.



if your trying to reach your audience with a scream they probably will cover thier ears...but with a gentle and
honest whisper it may travel to the heart and they may relate.....- Carrie Lally , July 22 2004 thursday in the corner at my computer.....blah blah blah ; )

LEts DAnce by DAvid Bowie ...is a great fuckin song BTW
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Old 07-22-2004, 08:24 AM   #7
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The same age demographic who made Bob Dylan a huge success are currently listening to nothing but teeny-bop songs about banging and the pain that results from mindless fucking.

The Beatles were social aware and popular.
Mamas and the Papas...John Denver...
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Old 07-22-2004, 08:52 AM   #8
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I think Rage Against the Machine got close
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Old 07-22-2004, 10:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Danospano
The same age demographic who made Bob Dylan a huge success are currently
driving around with "patriotic" bumper stickers on their SUVs, booing Linda Ronstadt off the stage.
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Old 07-22-2004, 12:17 PM   #10
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Oh, I think there are a lot of socially conscious artists out there:

U2 (duh)
Pearl Jam
Beastie Boys
Tori Amos (maybe not terribly political, but she's done an awful lot for rape and domestic abuse awareness)
Bruce Springsteen
R.E.M.

(just to name a few, as well as many many more under the radar)

The problem is not that the socially conscious artists aren't there--it's that we're so overstimulated and the airwaves so drowned in crap that it's harder to hear them.
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Old 07-22-2004, 12:19 PM   #11
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Wyclef Jean
The Roots

+ don't forget that a lot of musicians are involved with Rock for Choice and PETA and Artists Against AIDS. I think the fact that there are SO many causes has something do with it, too.
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Old 07-22-2004, 12:45 PM   #12
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Steve Earle
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Old 07-22-2004, 01:30 PM   #13
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I cant believe no one has mentioned Public Enemy!!!

Bad Religion's albums are usually about half political/social songs also.

And yes, Rage Against the Machine did NOTHING BUT politically/socially motivated songs.

I really could sit here all day and think of more and more artists who keep/kept trying their hands at stuff like this (Morrissey, The Clash, REM, Talib Kweli, Operation Ivy, Jurassic 5, Radiohead, The Cure, etc, etc, etc) Honestly, I dont even see where you're coming from with this thread. I think TOO MANY artists think they have to try to write songs of this nature, and it just becomes cliche and makes the songs sound extremely dated/idiotic a few years down the road.
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Old 07-22-2004, 01:41 PM   #14
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And Coldplay and Lauryn Hill...
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Old 07-22-2004, 01:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2popmofo
think TOO MANY artists think they have to try to write songs of this nature, and it just becomes cliche and makes the songs sound extremely dated/idiotic a few years down the road.
I totally agree. As a general rule, I don't care for political music.

But add AniDifranco to the list.
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Old 07-22-2004, 02:57 PM   #16
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You're all listing great artists, but how many of them have consistently found success on the radio with songs that clearly express a political opinion? How many have found success illicting change or made millions reconsider their values after hearing one of their songs. Just one? Springsteen, yes: he did with many songs, namely "My Hometown", and less clearly with the quasi-protest song against AIDS, "Streets of Philadelphia" without expressly saying the word "AID's". U2 has never had a hit single or even a SINGLE that dealt with anything aside from love. They qualify as the rare exception; which I why I like them , but their protest rock doesn't get played on the RADIO. I hear people saying, "What about "Sunday Bloody Sunday"?"----Well, unless you're listening exclusively protest, 1980's new wave radio stations, you're not going to hear it.

As for the rest....

Ani DiFranco: Cult favorite, but not mainstream. The key word is mainstream; reaching tens of millions of people. The same goes for Morrissey, anything from the Cure aside from 'Love Song', 'Friday I'm in Love', and 'Just Like Heaven', Tori Amos, and anything besides "Rock the Casbah" and "Train in Vain" from The Clash.

Rage Against the Machine: Yes, they had several successful ALBUMS, but never had a hit aside from Bulls on Parade and that wasn't big outside of college radio and alternative rock stations. Also, how many of us could truly understand most of De La Roche's lyrics? He yells, he's mostly inaudible unless you already know the lyrics. I don't consider this along the same lines as protest rock from pre-1994. The same goes for Pearl Jam and Jurassic 5. If people are mindlessly moshing to "Testify" or "Bushwacker" they're not doing it because they're angry at corporate America or President Bush; it's because they're into the music. Sure, there a few people that listen to the words, look them up online and learn them...heck, I did that. But most people on this planet who listen to Rage aren't thinking twice about the lyrical content.

REM: Protesting in a surrealist, near-meaningless jamble of words, doesn't constitute success in this realm of thinking. They made their success on the radio with pop songs and disturbing ballads of regret. You'd be hardpressed to name more than one hit, protest single that made it to the mainstream...there's that word again. And no, "What's the Frequency. Kenneth" doesn't touch people on a gut level...unless you researched the lyrics (much like RAGE AGAINST...) and learned of their descent. "It's the End of the World As We Know It" was a great song, but not accessible to anyone outside of the fanbase...it's hardly ever played.
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Old 07-22-2004, 03:44 PM   #17
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Clear Channel wouldn't have played Dylan nowadays anyway.
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Old 07-22-2004, 04:21 PM   #18
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Neil Young. Ohio, Alabama, Rockin In the Free World, etc.
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Old 07-22-2004, 04:41 PM   #19
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grass roots level...support local bands who you know have a conscience. The mainstream is so controlled, but you know that already.
John Butler Trio are a great Australian act that are happening right now and aren't afraid to say what they think.
I saw Jackson Browne recently. I was so stoked when he told the story of how his son asked him to start playing this song again
"Lives In The Balance...I want to know who the men in the shadows are...."
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Old 07-22-2004, 08:11 PM   #20
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Travis have quite a few protest songs (against the iraq war mostly) on their latest album...I love Travis, but I have to admit they're all pretty awful...

Direct protest songs usually sound very cliched and contrived - I think subtle attacks hidden in clever lyrics work much better, as U2 have often done.
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