10 February 2006

Where are the protest songs?

I was just listening to music from the Live Music Archive, which has become my favorite spot for finding music, when I came across Michael Franti and Spearhead -- a band that plays a lot of music opposing Shrub's War. And I was thinking about the current situation in the pop music world and comparing it to the 60s. Things have certainly changed. Popular music used to include provocative songs that confronted the status quo, songs that had a distinct voice and message (Bob Dylan's songs come to mind). The current generation's left with the occasional drab song seeking aid money for Africa or hurricane victims. I get the feeling that radio stations refuse to play any protest song that's any more controversial than a Pepsi commericial. At one point, I was under the mistaken impression that nobody's singing protest songs anymore (or at least no one with talent). But the truth seems to be that commercial interests in the music and film industries have pretty much choked off creativity in the desire for formulaic productions that are gauranteed to make money. For this reason, I'm very optimistic about the current movement away from CDs and tape in favor of MP3s, and the Live Music Archive in particular. Michael Franti and Spearhead has some decent songs among a very eclectic mix. Bomb the World is worth a listen. Just about anything in the archive is an improvement over the drivel coming from commercial radio.

This has been crossposted from Tangled Up in Blue.


Samay said...

The problem is, I've met people who actually have gone to college, and are dumb as bricks. They went to lesser-regarded programs, like Cal-Poly-Pomona and Oklahoma State, and it's questionable whether they actually learned anything of use . Maybe these lower-end schools need something that will prompt them to make sure their graduates actually act like college graduates. Of course, considering the current President, Yale could use a prompt, too.

Karlo said...

Do the famous schools do any better? Would things improve if we had everyone memorize lists of information which they would then regurtate on test day? I agree that U.S. education might not always be what it's cracked up to be but I think a reliance on standardized tests is moving in the wrong direction.