Protest songs of the past generation

West of the Wall

World Wide Suicide

Both of these two songs serve the same purpose of informing the public on a current issue the artist as well as much of the country/world wants changed.  The song, West of the Wall serves to protest the Berlin Wall which was formed in 1961 in Germany to seperate the country into West Germany and East Germany to prevent the spread of fascismism.  The singer of this song is protesting the song because the wall prevented freedom of movement, she sings in a very casual and direct manner, as opposed to Pearl Jams “World wide suicide” which is a rather indirect subtle manner to criticize the U.S. Gov’t.  Pearl Jam is seen in his hit single as expressing his anger towards the war in Iraq and how he believes it will lead to a world genocide.  Both of the artists are seen portraying their expression of freedom and liberty throughout the world, which was and still is a modern theme in the live of all Americans.


“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.