P.M.R.C is a song by the Bouncing Souls protesting censorship.  They are critiquing people who blame social issues on music. I think it would be challenging to try to fit this song into the broader conversation about censorship and music.  Censorship in music is obviously a broad topic so I am interested to see where the research will take me, and I think it will be a good challenge to tie it all together.  

This song will likely lead me to researching instances of censorship within music as well as the court case with 2Live Crew which I am only familiar with from a brief google search.  I would like to learn more about what the current censorship laws are and the general arguments for and against them.  I know a couple people who are really into the Bouncing Souls that may have some insight into the lyrics, specifically what “Helms” is referring to.  I am curious about where in punk history this song is situated among other dialogues about censorship.  I have also always wondered what P.M.R.C., so that would be cool to hopefully find out and document because I can’t find it anywhere else on the internet.

This song is important to me because I identify with the argument it is making.  There is a stigma surrounding rap, metal, punk and more genres of music that they glorify violence or a myriad of other negative things but that couldn’t be farther from the truth; some of the most uplifting and positive lyrics I have ever heard are performed with screaming vocals over brooding, overdriven hardcore riffs.  

I don’t think that this song will get ruined for me because I have listened to it on loop plenty and it hasn’t had that effect.  I am a bit concerned about it being such a short song but I think there is enough to discuss with the related topics of censorship and specific examples. I would rather study this song for 10 weeks because the Bouncing Souls are my favorite band and I would love to dive deep into the meanings of one of my favorite songs by them. I would also really like to talk about the song with the people in my life who are into the Souls. 


My other choice for a song is “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine.  One of the most intriguing things about this song to me is the fact that De la Rocha outright accuses the federal government of assassinating MLK and Malcolm X.  I don’t know much about Hoover and his role in the events of the time but I am curious to learn more about the full story behind this song.  Characteristically of political music, De la Rocha directly calls on the audience to “wake up” to the structural racism at play in the American government, specifically in Federal counterintelligence efforts.  I am very interested to learn more about Black Nationalism and related movements that were targeted by the American government.  

I think that my research on “Wake Up” will lead me to discover details about specific individuals within and related to the black nationalist movement who were targeted by the American government.  While a majority of Rage’s songs are already political, they are often taken one step further during live performances when De la Rocha tells anecdotes that often focus on oppressed individuals’ names.   

This is a topic that I would really like to learn more about.  I’ve been interested in MLK’s work speaking out against the Vietnam war and the way that the government spied on him and the narrative about his life’s work has been spun to sweep under the rug his condemnation of American imperialism.  I think that a project where I have to dive in on these subjects through the lens of a song I love by a band I love would be a really rewarding way to spend my time. 

I am a bit concerned about having too many different directions to go in with the content that I discuss.  I am also a bit concerned about finding a song that I would rather do my project on after starting.

Kate Engel