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Protest Songs 1955-2005

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A Change in the Protest Song

The 1990s brought a different sound to the protest songs. Gone was the simple sound of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and in its place was heavy guitars and screaming vocals. The message of the songs, however, still came through.

U2, Bad Religion, Rage Against the Machine, Pennywise, System of a Down, Public Enemy, and the Cranberries were famous protest bands of the 1990s. The punk and ska movement also had a revival in what is known as the "third wave" around 1994-96, which led to some renewed interest in protest songs. Jello Biafra, who was the lead singer for the Dead Kennedys, formed "The No WTO Combo" with former members of Nirvana and Sound Garden in 1999 as a protest to the formation of the World Trade Organization. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones also had many political or social themed songs. Propgandhi is a band known for their leftist politics, who formed in the mid-90s and is still around today.

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"Zombie," by the Cranberries, was about a child killed in a car bombing:

Another head hangs lowly,

Child is slowly taken.

And the violence caused such silence,

Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.

In your head, in your head they are fighting,

With their tanks and their bombs,

And their bombs and their guns.

In your head, in your head, they are crying...

* * *

"Homeless" by Pennywise

Look at all these people lying around look at all these people being scraped

Right off the ground because of too many broken homes too many cardboard box-

Es too many people who just can't survive hare losses well americans don't

Belong in tins let's learn to help ourselves before we help the foreign wound-

Ed decay shout out dismay can you hear ther voices yelling out mayday why are

We sending money overseas look out your window our nation's the one that needs

Because there's not enough income there's too much poverty why must we lose

More lives before our eyes will see we'll leave it alone hope it goes away

It's hard to ignore life when you live it everyday I'd like to see I'd like

To say I'd like to hear that help is on the way here today where tomorrow?

Death in the shadows affect us all too many bodies lie in the street too many

Hungry mouths that have the right to feed



Jessi Rawlings :: Michelle Nickolaisen :: Jessica Harrison
Carrie Castor :: Alicia Bradley

Jordan/5th Hour Language Arts

9 Mar. 2005