Lineage 1: Police Brutality and Racial Violence

The first song lineage in “Sheep” by Mt Joy is the theme of speaking out against police brutality and the racial injustice in America, and the reflection in the judicial system. These songs are a collection of various artists from different backgrounds and genres speaking out against their struggles and having a voice for the millions of Americans this violence effects. 


“The Revolution Will Not be Televised” Gil Scott-Heron (1970)

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a poetically written song by Gil Scott-Heron. This song illustrates the struggle of inequality that African Americans face on a day to day basis. More importantly, this song describes the way that media coverage of social issues is twisted and manipulated; the white media doesn’t support or represent the black community and their fight for civil rights is being easily swept under the rug and not shown correctly or represented enough in the media, but it is still very much happening. 


“What’s Going On?” Marvin Gaye (1971)

This song by Marvin Gaye is a beautifully written protest song about police brutality and social injustice. It’s delivered in a very honest and calm style; his Motown style creates a disposition between the message and the feel of the music, but the content is still very evident and clear that there is pain in his voice and his community that he’s representing desperately needs a change and an equal chance at peace. 


“F*ck The Police” N.W.A. (1988)

This iconic protest song strongly and powerfully states the message that the issue of police brutality is incredibly unfair and horrible. The lyrics and sound of the song inspire feelings of being mad and upset over this racial injustice and have a very clear statement for what they think about the police and what they are doing. The straight forward and aggressive style of this protest song makes it a great historical piece of music that holds an incredible amount of emotion and power. 


“Killing in the Name” Rage Against the Machine (1992) 

This protest song comes from a different genre than the rest of the songs in this lineage, but that doesn’t change the intent and effectiveness of the message. “Killing in the Name” is a rock song that has the same rhetoric as “F*ck the Police” in the sense that is it straightforward and has a tone that matches the anger of the situation. However, this is the first song in the lineage that is passionately singing for change for racial injustice but is coming from a predominately white band using their mainstream popularity to advocate for African Americans, just as Mt. Joy is.



Lineage 2: Peace and Coming Together

The second song lineage that’s interwoven into “Sheep” by Mt. Joy is the call to action for people to come together to help advocate for change and make a difference. These songs recognize that there are severe issues in our society, and in order for them to be changed, there needs to be a community effort to help each other and create protest through peaceful unity. Those with more privileges need to use their platforms and advantages to help those who do not have it. 


“We Shall Overcome” Pete Seeger (1948)

This peaceful protest song is a staple in folk music history. Pete Seeger was known for this style of music, and his messages used music as a tool to unite everyone listening to it. The members of Mt. Joy use this same ideology in their music and were inspired by the idea of using song and voice to project the image of peace and unity that they believed in. This song has a great emphasis on identifying the issues of injustice and positively affirming that together it will be solved. 


“The Times They Are A Changin” Bob Dylan (1964)

Bob Dylan was another iconic folk singer. “The Times They Are A Changin” is a song that focuses primarily on the optimistic way to look at a grim reality and inspire hope for the listeners. This protest song recognizes that the current issues at hand are wrong, and society needs to wake up, come together, and create a more peaceful environment where people can live in equal peace.


“Revolution” The Beatles (1968)

“Revolution” is one of The Beatle’s most famous songs. This message talks about how things need to be changed because the society that currently exists does not reflect the society that people want. In order for that to be changed, there needs to be a revolution. People need to come together and create the change that everyone so desperately needs, and stand up to the institutionalized corruption so deeply embedded in society. 


“Imagine” John Lennon (1971)

This dreamy protest song looks at the future and gives the listener a glimmering look into what could possibly exist if the corruption and inequality wasn’t there. Its positive and peaceful message is what made it become such a top seller; this song advocates for peace and reflects the society that people would want to ideally live in. This means that the current issues of racial injustice and violence wouldn’t exist and everyone would come together peacefully. Mt Joy recognizes these issues in their songs and ideally want to get to a place that Lennon describes in this song, and the only way to get there is to unite and work together.