Hozier released his second full length album in early 2019 with its first song being “Nina Cried Power”. This song is a direct nod and thank you to all of the activists who have paved the way in the Civil Rights movement. Hozier mentions them by name throughout the course of the song – Nina Simone, B.B King, Woody Guthrie, Mavis Staples, Pete Seeger, John Lennon, and more. Mavis is even featured on the track. The first line of the song is “It’s not the waking, it’s the rising”. The song itself is more than just an acknowledgment towards all those who have spoken their voice (in many different ways) against social and political issues, but it’s a song of protest itself. The song is a commentary on the general apathetic attitude of the current society, especially the youth. It does not mention a certain issue, but I believe it to be a comment on the current political state of the world, and the issues that are being brushed under the rug or not receiving the proper response. One of the lines is “It’s not the wall, but what’s behind it”, which is a direct reference to Trump’s “build a wall” campaign, and the implications it has on us as humans. This song is a call to action. It calls upon all of those who have benefitted from results of the activists before us to show us what speaking up can do to change the environment that you are in. Every aspect of this song, from lyrics, to the upbeat and inspiring instrumentation, to the music video itself is a song of protest for our current generation.

Armor by Sara Bareilles is a powerful song that has become a modern feminist anthem. The new album “Amidst the Chaos”, produced by T Bone Burnett with music and lyrics by Sara herself, was released in 2019. The song tackles the political patriarchy while being an uplifting and empowering song to women of all ages, sizes, and colors. The lyrics make digs at the men trying to control decisions for women, and even begins the song with a dig at Adam, from the notorious biblical tale of “Adam and Eve”. This song offers an insightful look at the opinion of many women who feel like their voice is suppressed or “less than” a man’s. The music is upbeat with a strong beat that carries throughout the verses and chorus, and is reminiscent of a battle song. This ties in with the title and the refrain to choruses or “hand me my armor”. This song calls women to take action, but in a sense that they are already strong enough and have the power to stand up for themselves, all they have to do is stand up and say something. The song is also addressing another person, saying “my armor comes from you”. This can be looked at as a nod towards all of the strong women that have proceeded this generation and paved the way for women’s rights, or even as acknowledgment of more influential characters closer to home, like a sister or mother.