Song 1: Bon Iver’s, “PDLIF” (2020) 

Bon Iver: “PDLIF” Track Review | Pitchfork

What is initially intriguing about the song PDLIF is the name. For an artist such as the song’s creator, Bon Iver, whose music is respected by so many to title one of their songs as an acronym, one is almost forced to pay closer attention to the words the acronym represents. This is also the key mantra chanted in the chorus: ‘Please Don’t Live In Fear.’ And also introduces the listener to what is in a sense, being protested- Living in Fear. 

While it may not initially come off as being a real Protest song, it is calling the listener to action. The song does not have many lyrics that accompany the chorus, but among them are lines such as, “”How things can change, so don’t you, but don’t you, don’t you run away!” This goes to support what the line that the song represents is proclaiming! It is so easy to live based in fear because we can see it as being a way of shielding ourselves from the dangers that can hurt us. More often than not, however, living in fear actually attracts essentially what we are fearing. If nothing else, it attracts more fear if we live in a way that is based in fear, which is ultimately the absence of Love. This song protests living in fear.


Bon Iver – PDLIF – Official Video – YouTube


Song 2: Everlast’s, “What It’s Like” (1998)

Everlast – What It's Like (1998, CD) - Discogs

Another strong choice for a protest song would be Everlast’s song What It’s Like. This one looks at and uplifts a number of different, often purposefully overlooked, perspectives. The first of these is described as being, “we’ve all seen a man at the liquor store begging for your change.” The lyric goes on to describe the person begging and the person who is being pleaded to reject them, and goes on to close the lyric by saying, “Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues.” This lyric is followed by the chorus, which goes, “Then you really might know what it’s like (what it’s like)” And is followed by another lyric that describes another often-judged point of view. The next perspective that’s raised in the song is that of a young pregnant woman who, after being left by the guy who impregnated her, presumably gets an abortion because the lyric reads, “They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore,” which is followed by, “God forbid you ever have to walk a mile in her shoes, ’cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose.” The song goes on to look at a number of different perspectives that are so often judged by people who are not being empathetic and really imagining what it might be like in the different peoples’ shoes. When looking at specific social movements this song and at least some of the lyrics I uplifted are championing, you can see it clearly being Pro-Choice, or more specifically, championing, or protesting for the United States abortion rights movement. Overall, the song is an influential call to empathy. I see this as being something that we are not often enough inspired to do by artists, so I see this one in particular being a protest song that should gain traction. 


Everlast – What it’s Like (Official Music Video) – YouTube