Protest Anthems Podcast

All Things Music, Social Justice, and Protest


Second Listen

Updated with the quote at 10:50pm. For your Second Listen, I’d like you to listen to your chosen song by thinking about it in terms of the context in which the song was written—or, what “C. Writing Mills called a ‘sociological imagination’: It helps musickers to see the social roots in what might otherwise be felt as individual stories or problems. It identifies collective and structural arrangements—who has power? who does the work? who gets the payoff? who decides?—as the origin of what is usually felt to be one’s personal situation” (Rosenthal & Flacks, p. 20). In your post, I’d like you to write about two things:

First, the historical context in which your song was written and released. What was happening in the world at that time? Is the song connected to a particular social or protest movement? If only maybe possibly tangentially connected, you can say so; don’t create a strong connection that might not exist.

Second, how has the songwriter integrated that context into the song? That is, what is the song’s “sociological imagination”? Please don’t site every single instance; one or two is fine.

Link to and/or embed external sources in such a way that helps educate the reader (don’t assume the reader is familiar with what you are writing about).

Before you publish, make sure to select the Second Listen category.

Just a Girl- Second Listen

It was in 1995 when No Doubt released Just a Girl. Written by their lead singer, Gwen Stefani, this song addresses female stereotypes and inequality. In a more recent interview with People, Gwen was asked to share the story behind… Continue Reading →

Second Listen-Zombie

English rule in Northern Ireland has always been an ongoing issue, but there have been many rebel groups that have fought this. In the 1970’s an emerging group called the IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) began to stir up more… Continue Reading →

The Story of O.J. – Second Listen

“The Story of OJ” was written and released by Jay-Z during the summer of 2017. This was a controversial year in the United States, especially in politics. President Trump’s inauguration, police brutality, riots and protests, and a lot going on… Continue Reading →

Don’t Shoot- Second Listen

The Game, along with many other artists featured on the track such as Rick Ross, Diddy, and 2 Chainz released the song in reaction to the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri back in August of 2014…. Continue Reading →

Now – Second Listen

Miguel’s Now was released in 2017 during a time where the nation’s political tensions were heightened. In 2016, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. One of the platforms Trump ran on was building a… Continue Reading →

“Paranoia” – Second Listen

After listening to Chance the Rapper’s “Paranoia” more intently, I feel it is important to understand the context behind the song to fully appreciate and understand what is being said. I think the song is powerful as a social commentary… Continue Reading →

Second Listen of Mystery of Iniquity

The year was 2002 when Lauryn Hill released “Mystery of Iniquity” after it being recorded for MTV Unplugged the previous year. The U.S was in an all too familiar slump, the republican president was highly disliked, Tom Brady led the… Continue Reading →

Pumped Up Kicks Second Listen

The context in which “Pumped Up Kicks” was written is one that seems familiar today–gun violence, specifically in the context of school shootings. The song was written in 2010. School shootings were not a new phenomena at that point, as… Continue Reading →

“Don’t Touch My Hair”

In her song, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Solange discusses the issues with people of other races and cultures touching her hair. Her hair, however, is more than just a part of her body, but rather a representation of her culture… Continue Reading →

Neighbors – A Second Listen

The historical context of this song dates back to as early as black history in America, beginning with slavery, the abolition of slavery, to the Civil Rights movement, and present protests today, mainly the Black Lives Matter movement.   Released… Continue Reading →

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