Dear America, Sincerely Unhappy American


This song is called “American Woman,” by a Candadian band, The Guess Who. It was released in February 1970 during the Vietnam War.  The “American woman” described in the song is actually referring to America. In the opening of the song, the lyrics are “American woman, stay away from me…” At the time, America was encouraging Canada to implement nuclear missles. This song is a protest to America because Canada does not want to be a part of the nuclear arms race. It is telling America to stay away and leave Canada alone. Suggested by the lyrics, “I got more important things to do…,” it indicates that Canada has their own issues to deal with and do not want to be bothered by America’s affairs.

This song is called “Dear Mr. President,” by Pink. This song was released on December 21, 2006. This is a protest song because it is about how dissatisfied P!nk is with former President George W. Bush’s policies. In the lyrics, she asks the president, “What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street, who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep..” Pink implies that the pervasive problem of homelessness is in some effect the president’s fault. She also expresses her disapproval of his “No Child Left Behind” policy because children are not dumb or blind. She does not believe this policy would ensure opportunities for all children. In essence, this song is a protest of the actions President Bush enacted.

In comparing the two songs, I believe social protests have not changed much. In the 1960s and 2000s, people still voiced out their concerns and opinions through various mediums such as music and art. However, I do think that the social protests of the 1960s were more together and collaborative. There are many acts of social protests nowadays but they lack the power and focus of the 1960s.


Wake us up

The video above is of a song released in 1965 titled “The War Drags On” by British folk singer Mick Softley. It was written to protest the Vietnam War and follows the story of a soldier who is sent to Vietnam and has nightmare of the world ending due to nuclear warfare.



The video above is of a song released in 2004 titled “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by the American rock band, Green Day. The video follows a young couple in love that have an argument because the boyfriend enlists in the USMC.

Both videos are very moving however “The War Drags On” is much more direct in it’s anti war sentiment. Furthermore, the 1960s video uses (or so it seems) actual scenes from the Vietnam war where as Green Day’s video is staged. It seems that as time has passed many people have grown to accept, or rather tolerate the pointless wars we are in. Maybe its more of a feeling of insignificance, in regards to our influence on government action. The 1960s video clearly addresses the irony of bringing freedom to the country. The 1960s video is also more graphic and calls people to action. This difference between videos reflect a change in social protests. Nowadays people have become much more reserved with their opinions and due to the economic situation most people have found themselves in, are too busy with work and family to have the time and desire to do anything that would stimulate social change. The world has become infantile and even as we become more connected via the internet, we have become isolated from the world, narrowing our scope of interest and concern to a very close proximity.



protest songs

The first song is “Masters of War”, written by Bob Dylan at 1962. The second song is “Let’s Impeach the President” written by Neil Young. Both of the songs are shared the idea of anti-war. However, the first song is to describe what war matters did. The war matters did nothing good for our society. They killed people, destroyed people house, and created fear to the next generation. In the end, Dylan starts to ask war masters that “Is your money that good will it buy you forgiveness” and also show how people feeling of wars and war masters. In contrast, the second song is to blame on the president Bush who started war on Afghanistan and Iraq which cause people lose their money and privacy. Young also blame Bush that he did not solves the problem of Katrina hurricane on New Orleans and his second term.


Different times, different causes


In the first song, “People Got to Be Free” by The Rascals tries to convince listeners that everyone should be free. Through out the entire song, the Rascals explains it very simple and natural for everyone to see. Everyone is the same and everyone should be free. The group refers to civil rights movement in the 1960s in their last verse when they mention the “Train of Freedom” that is coming and has been long over due. The second song, “Living with War” by Neil Young refers to the need for peace and the protest against war. Although Neil Young does not explicitly mention which war he is singing about, he is referring to the Iraq War. “I take a holy vow, to never kill again.” He tries to convince listeners to there is no need to fight. In the song he says he lives with war everyday and killing will only mean more people dying on both sides.

Since the 1960s, many protest songs have been geared towards event that happen in their current time. In Neil Young’s song, he sings about the war taking place in 2006, the Iraq War. In The Rascals’ song, they were singing about the need to be free and the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Both songs are fairly general songs as they can be applied to the protest against war and the call for peace and freedom. Neither of the songs explicitly reveal details of a specific event that has happened.


“Don’t matter what color, all that matters we gathered together”


The first video is a song originally written by Bob Dylan in the 60’s. It is a song questioning the way things are. For example, the line ‘Yes, how many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free ?’ is a question based on civil rights for blacks.The second video is Mosh by Eminem and it was released in 2004. Eminem in this song was trying to encourage people to go out and vote. He wanted to encourage people to try to change and challenge the politicians ( Example: Bush ) that were taking advantage of them. Mosh had more anger being shown than Blowing in the Wind. Mosh is more aggressive.


“Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” and “World Wide Suicide”


With the lyrics composed in 1956, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” was a very influential song during the black civil rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s. It was one of the protesters favorite song during their organized walk outs. Although the lyrics of the song is rather subtle, since it did not refer to any specific events or movements, the intention of the song was, nevertheless, apparent to the singers and listeners. The melody and the repetition of “eyes on the prize” were very effective in reminding the protesters to continue to pursuit their ultimate goals.

Pearl Jam’s “World Wide Suicide” (2006), on the other hand, is a song that was written to express the population’s anger toward the Iraq War. In contrast to the subtle “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” “World Wide Suicide” is a little more explicit in the message. There were many key words, such as “war,” “man-made hell,” and “President writes a check, while others pay” that were apparent to the audiences during war time. Moreover, compare to “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” “World Wide Suicide” is more of a song of complaint than a song of encouragement for the protesters.


War is good for nothing~

The first song I chose is called War by Edwin Starr which is a protest song about the Vietnam War, and this song came out around the 1960’s. In the song War their is a famous line “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!” which basically meant that war is pointless. If you look at the lyrics of this song it talks about how war causes so much destruction and pain to everyone. The second song I chose is called Boom! by System of a Down which is a protest song about war and militarism. In Boom!’s lyrics it talks about why do we have to waste money on build bombs and other things to kill out own kind.

In the song War their is a couple of the lyrics that stood out to me “Ohhh, war, I despise, Because it means destruction, Of innocent lives”, “War means tears, To thousands of mothers eyes, When their sons go to fight, And lose their lives” these lyrics shows how bad war is causing pain to everyone.  Even though these two songs talk about war they differ in a way. In Boom! the lyrics aren’t entirely about war its more about how we spent so much money on build weapons instead of using that money to save lives. Some examples are “Unnecessary deaths, Nobody gives a fuck, 4000 hungry children leave us per hour, from starvation, while billions spent on bombs, creating death showers” the song is still about how war is unnecessary but it is more about how we waste our money.


Protest With Music

I selected two very moving protest songs of the past 100 years. The first song I chose was “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” by Bob Dylan (1964). The version that I posted is a cover, as I was not able to find the original version on YouTube. The second song I selected was “The General,” by The Dispatch (2000). “Only a Pawn in Their Game” is a song about the racist nature of the world during the 20th century. It specifically mentions the assassination of the civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Dylan goes on to mention how although many people preformed terrible deeds, usually due to racism, it was not solely their fault. It was the fault of society, and he says that each person in only “a pawn in their game.” “The General” is an anti-war song about a general who claims that it “is not worth fighting.” The entire song the general is telling his soldiers to go home, and enjoy their lives. The message is that we should avoid war, because we are taking away people’s lives.

In general, protest songs have not really changed over the years. The bottom line is that they are supposed to convey a message to the public and create a change. However, today I think these songs are more direct and crude, as opposed to being more subtle 50 years ago. Today there are also new genres, such as hip-hop, which have produced certain protest songs as well. Besides those few changed there are not many distinct differences in protest songs over the years. The two songs I chose could have been written anytime over the past 50 years, and they would fit in to any time period. Social protests did not change much, as a whole. Like protest songs, they simply just became more outright and uncut. People are not afraid to say or do anything these days.


Where Is The Love?

The two songs I chose are “Give Peace A Chance” by John Lennon and “Where Is The Love?” by Black Eyed Peas. The first song “Give Peace A Chance”, was released in 1969. John Lennon repeats “All we are saying is give peace a chance” in the chorus part multiple times. This song soon became the anthem of the anti-war movement during the height of the Vietnam War. Millions of protesters in Washington D.C repeated the chorus, singing the famous lines of John Lennon’s song at the Vietnam Moratorium Day on October 15, 1969.The Black Eyed Peas released the single “Where Is the Love?” in 2003, two years after the attack of 9/11/01. This song covers issues that we are facing in society and as a nation. Issues that are coved in the song are terrorism, war, racism, discrimination, government hypocrisy, greed, juvenile crime and the invasion of Iraq.


Assignment due 5/2

Write a post that includes 2 videos (or a link to video/audio).  One should show a protest song produced between 1960 and 1970.  The other should be a protest song produced between 2000 and 2011.  Both songs should be new to the blog.  Write 1-2 paragraphs comparing and contrasting the two songs.  Explain what is being protested in each song and what terms are used to express protest.  What has changed about social protest between the 1960s and the 2000s, and how specifically do these songs show that change?