This Week in Protest Music: Tribe at the Grammys, Depeche Mode and Standing Rock

In a busy week for protest music, the Grammy’s served as ground zero for speaking out against the actions of the Administration in Washington, D.C. Katy Perry wore a ‘Persist’ armband, a nod to Senator Elizabeth Warren.

A Tribe Called Quest stole the show at the Grammy’s with a three song medley of “Award Tour,” “Movin Backwards,” and “We the People,” which featured Busta Rhymes thanking the President:”

“I wanna thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I wanna thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban. Now we come together!”

Depeche Mode released the video for “Where’s the Revolution,” off their upcoming album Spirit, due out March 17th. The lyrics are straightforward – wondering where the revolution is – and the video dark with nods to authoritarian leaders.

“You’ve been kept down / You’ve been pushed ’round / You’ve been lied to/ You’ve been fed truths / Who’s making your decisions / You or your religion / Your government, your countries / You patriotic junkiesWhere’s the revolution / Come on people / You’re letting me down / Where’s the revolution / Come on people / You’re letting me down”

Joan Baez talked to Rolling Stone to discuss protest movements in the 1960s and today and her feelings on our current president.

Billboard checked in with record shops around the country to see what protest music people are buying. Stores in L.A, NYC, Detroit and Madison, WI were sampled and among others, Bob Dylan’s music stands the test of time.

Wayne Coyne isn’t a fan of protest music, telling Newsweek “If you want to protest, you can’t do it abstractly. Music only works as an abstraction.” takes a negative (or tongue in cheek – we really couldn’t tell) look at why protest songs are making things worse.

Glassine, a musician from Baltimore, created a track comprised solely of samples from the Women’s March to benefit Planned Parenthood.

Charlene Haparimwi from Depaul University writes for Huffington Post with a look at women of color in folk music, a direct tie-in to protest music of today and yesteryear.

Trapdoor Social, an activist-centered music group, produced “Never Stop Listening,” focuses on the group’s experiences at Standing Rock in North Dakota, and the fight that has yet to come.

This cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” includes overviews of the protests in the past four weeks.

People Magazine has as list of 16 protest songs from the past century, including some lesser known tunes.

Brendan Maclean’s explicit “House of Air” video was pulled off YouTube and Huffington Post discussed the idea behind the song and video with him.

Washington D.C. group Coup Sauvage and The Snips released Heirs of Nothing, the title track speaking like a sermon on gentrification before it gets funky.

The Cornel West Theory released “#weaintblack,” using samples from Cornel West speeches ahead of deep lyrics on race and the struggle of African-Americans through U.S. history

The Observer, serving Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s colleges, reflects on how we arrived at 2017 with a look at modern protest music, summing up the current state of affairs:

Internet fundraising in 2017 may not have Country’s Joe’s iconic flare or Springsteen’s popular appeal, but it makes up for these shortcomings with its clear logistical vision. Awareness won’t cut it anymore. A successful movement turns its obstacles into assets and embraces a political game movement in which persuasion is king and money the most convincing premise

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