Protest Anthems Podcast

All Things Music, Social Justice, and Protest


Fifth Listen

For this fifth and final listen, I’d like you to think about the musical lineage your song exists within. By lineage, I mean how the song connects to other songs in the history of music that cover similar issues and subject matter. Prior songs can be directly referenced, but that isn’t necessary — and I’m not talking about sampling here.

For example, consider the lineage of: Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” –> Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” –> Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A” –> Green Day’s “American Idiot” –> Childish Gambino’s “This is America” –> to J.S. Ondara’s “American Dream.” (Side note: I’m seeing Ondara at World Cafe Live on Friday!!) Each of these songs exists as a critique of America and one or more of its policies, with a direct reference either in the lyrics or the title. They hint at a connection, even though it is not overt. But, and this is key, knowing about the prior song(s) adds a new level of understanding to the other song and so on. They construct a history of critique.

Lineages can also have songs made in reaction to other songs. For example, as we see this week, The Beatles “Help!” –> The Damned’s, “Help!” Or, as we see this week, songs by The Sex Pistols and The Class –> songs by Bikini Kill –> Riot Grrrl zines –> songs by Pussy Riot. In these examples, bands and their music lead to other bands, working against them or in concert with them.

So, for this listen, I’d like you to discuss 2 of your song’s lineages based on the subjects covered in your song. Create lineages of 3 – 5 songs and explore not just what connects them but how those connections enhance your understanding of your chosen song.

“The Story of O.J.” Lineage

“The Story of O.J.” has a music lineage rooting back to songs throughout history about oppression, racism, and wealth in America. Jay-Z creates music that reflects his beliefs and opinions, and this song reflects the state of the racial wealth… Continue Reading →

You Don’t Own Me – Lineage & Timeline

1963 Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me –> 1978 X-Ray Spex’s Oh Bondage Up Yours –> 1995 No Doubt’s Just a Girl –> 2003 Kelly Clarkson’s Miss Independent –> 2014 Lily Allen’s Hard Out Here –> 2016 Grace’s You Don’t… Continue Reading →

Mystery of Iniquity Lineage

“Mystery of Iniquity” by Lauryn Hill explores the topic of the United States legal system, and the injustices the  people have faced by it. In all honesty, there are not many songs specifically about this subject matter. After digging further… Continue Reading →

Now’s Lineage

There are many songs that focus on the growing issue of immigration. Although many of the songs don’t have the same sound, they focus on the same concept. I connected the lineage as follows: Now – American Land – Paper… Continue Reading →

“Pumped Up Kicks” Lineage

When looking into the lineage of “Pumped Up Kicks,” I searched for more songs related to gun violence specifically related to school shootings. I was not sure what I would find, as the song was not clearly written about a… Continue Reading →

“Guerrilla Radio” Lineage

Public Enemy “Power to the People” –> Rage Against the Machine “Guerrilla Radio” –> Prophets of Rage “Prophets of Rage” I think that one of the main and easiest Lineages to see includes that which includes Public Enemy, Rage Against… Continue Reading →

“Zombie” Lineage

“Zombie” follows a lineage of family/war, it fits the theme of speaking out against terrorism and what war does to families. There have been songs that spoke out against war, like “When the Tigers Broke Free” by Pink Floyd; the… Continue Reading →

“Praying” Lineage

“Praying” by Kesha is a song that upholds women’s empowerment and getting through hard times. Many artists alongside Kesha have released songs that speak up about these same injustices. Kesha released this song after four years of not being able… Continue Reading →

XXX. Lineage

In XXX., Lamar addresses so many social injustices that he has faced during his life. He is originally from Compton, California and has grown up being surrounded by police brutality, gang violence, as well as many other horrible things. The lineage… Continue Reading →

Alright Lineage

“Alright” covers many different themes within the song, some more relatable than others. Two of the themes that I decided to find lineages for are institutional racism and dealing with success/fame. While not as many people deal with fame, we… Continue Reading →

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