The two possible songs I would like to explore for my Protest Anthem Podcast are “Looking For Somebody To Love” by The 1975 and the “Lockdown” music video by Anderson .Paak. 

“Looking For Somebody To Love” (The 1975) 

“Looking For Somebody To Love” intrigues me for many reasons. The 1975 has a tendency to touch on really important social issues and hot-button topics in songs that sound extremely upbeat and pop-ish. It’s a dichotomy, and I’ve always been interested in it. I don’t believe that the lyrics in the song are too obvious, I actually think that there’s a lot to unpack. Matty Healy, the lead vocalist, has said that the song is about mass shootings/societal violence, but I also would like to explore the song’s references to toxic masculinity and incel culture. 

I think that “Looking For Somebody To Love” will lead me towards more synth and punk music. In terms of research, I think it will be really interesting to examine the differences in mass shootings in the US versus the UK, where The 1975 is from. I’m not sure how much of a difference there will be, but I’m assuming that the US has a higher rate of mass shootings. And so I am curious to see how an outsider views this “cultural phenomenon”, and relays his opinions through the song. The 1975’s music crosses over into many genres, but the main two they occupy are indie and pop. To me, pop screams contemporary, another word I would use to describe the subject of mass shootings. And, out of all the songs on Being Funny in a Foreign Language, “Looking For Somebody To Love” sounds the most pop-ish and electronic to me, so I think it’s fitting that the song touches on a very modern topic. 

I think this song is important because it obviously touches on a very pressing issue, but like many protest songs, its lyrics don’t align with the sound of the music, and I think that causes you to think more deeply about what message is being conveyed. Why did the artist choose a specific sound that may be more upbeat and peppy than downtrodden and acoustic, which could convey something entirely different? I am willing to commit to studying this song for 10 weeks, even if it means listening to it over and over again. 

“Lockdown” music video (Anderson .Paak) 

“Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak also addresses contemporary issues, weaving COVID lockdown and Black Lives Matter together to form a song of protest against police brutality. This song interests me because it addresses two major historical events happening around the safe time and how they impacted each other, and even existed in spite of each other. Unlike other media, the music video doesn’t focus on loud and bustling protests, but rather restaurants, alleys, and homes, and I’m interested to find out why Anderson .Paak made this creative decision. When I think about Black Lives Matter, I usually don’t reflect on how lockdown conditions affected the movement, and vice versa. I think that this song will challenge me to find the parallels and ties between the two topics. Additionally, the music video has a myriad of symbols and visuals that will give me lots of content to investigate. 

In terms of research, I am really looking forward to learning more about Anderson .Paak as an artist. He is a Black and Korean R&B/soul artist from California, and I think those intersections will really make for a robust discussion of race and class. Also, in his music video, there are moments when Black and Asian Americans are seen eating together or sitting together, a symbol of Paak’s mixed heritage. I would like to hear his thoughts on not only the BLM movement, but also the rise in racism towards Asian-Americans during the COVID lockdown. 

I think “Lockdown” is an important music video because it shows racial diversity while addressing an American race issue. As a person of color myself, I am always interested in others’ opinions, perceptions, and experiences of race relations, and so I think that I would have no problem listening to this song for 10 weeks straight. 

The only concern I have about completing this project is that I will just get tired of the song by the time I’m done with it, and won’t be able to enjoy it after the podcast is finished. I already like both Anderson .Paak and The 1975’s music, so I hope that after listening to either song for the rest of the semester I don’t absolutely hate either artist’s sound.