Political songs

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Yes, I thought it'd be time for that dreaded topic once again!

Those who know my stuff over the years know that i don't shy away from writing about political events, current events, social commentary, etc. Some people hate those kinds of songs, some people love them. My feeling is, its certainly not all i do, but I think especially these days, its an important thing for at least some of us. yes, I know that most of the time these songs won't 'change someone's mind'.. but i think they can provide news, information, support for those already on your side, and maybe even sway some on the fence who never thought about some of these issues. Plus, its a great way to use those thoughts and feelings many of us have and channel them into something creative. Given all that's happening these days around the world, it seems we need political songs more then ever.

Your thoughts on political/topical songs in general?

(and shameless plug alert, here's my most recent song, which is, yes, political in nature. I should state that the four or five before this one were not political at all, (the first one I posted here was/is, but i've held back writing more till now... http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/21546 )

All I'd add is "God Save the Queen. " Smile

My ideal political song would discuss a general idea that can poison (or perhaps improve) policy, action, and ideological underpinnings, regardless of one's position on the spectrum.

It could also work if it sings of the effects of this idea applied to an event or the workings of a person, but I would find it weaker.

I likes me some nuance, allegory and parable, but these aren't vital if the first requirement is fulfilled.

I find naked partisan diatribe tiring, even if I agree with it.

"All Politics is a Racket" - Smedley Buttler.
Coming from personal experience, this is my viewpoint exactly
Here at 5090 & Fawm @mike skliar, You are king on the mountain. Or should I say King on the Hill (Washington DC politics). Always writing about those "fools on the Hill."
I'll gladly take a Chair in the Buffoon section at the lower part of the woodwinds totem pole.
Russ Dirol

@mike skliar, I also enjoy good political songs! So keep it up!!!

And a quick aside to whoever still believes that tired old bullshit about "no one ever changed someone's mind on the internet"! This is just about the dumbest sentiment on the internet! Smile Some people really believe it and some just use it as a way to shut down conversation. But conversation and sharing ideas is EXACTLY what changes people's opinions...All The Time...Every Single Day! Some of those conversations happen on the bus, in the beauty salon, at a bar, during a reading of the newspaper, during my nightly appointment with Rachel Maddow, and yes, ON THE INTERNET!

Granted, there are a LOT of hard-headed people who refuse to change their minds regardless of facts right under their noses. But there are a lot of SANE people in the world too! People who try and discover the Truth and who listen to others as a way of finding it.

And finally, sometimes when I am posting political stuff or writing political songs I don't give a rat's hairy butt if I change minds or not! Sometimes I am quite content to be preaching to the choir so the choir knows there are still others out there who have not completely lost their freaking minds! Biggrin

I think is we're going to politicize the forum, there ought to be some sort of ignore option available.

I edited my earlier comment to make it a bit less partisan since my main point was people do change their minds!

But a forum topic title like "Political songs" seems pretty obvious to me! Smile

I wrote this whole response and then it said error. Oh well. I think most of you know my views on political songs Wink I try to not be so passionate about some of my views (lately it is even tougher!) I have always been for the underdog, the poor, the trodden. Against greed, indifference, and war. I don't know-blame it on Scorpio Smile We are passionate people Smile I have changed my mind through the years after hearing songs. Case in point-Woody Guthrie. He gave me a little more courage to say what I want to say.

I'm sure there will be a few of us in the UK, especially those who are London based, who would want to write something related to the horror of Grenfell Tower. Personally I'm struggling to find a way to come up with something that is appropriately scathing of the political environment that allowed it to happen and still be respectful of those who have lost people they know or their homes as a result.

Finding the right tone for a political song can be really difficult sometimes. Often the biggest issues need the most sensitive approach.

I've often written songs with a political edge - especially relating to the environment and inequality, but Britain at the moment has me at a loss for words,

@Stephen Wordsmith - I think the thing that most approaches your desire for a message that undercuts politicians of all persuasions would be a call for evidence-based policy in all areas - all sides of the political spectrum love playing to the emotional triggers of their supporters. So I guess a call for a scientific/evidence based political approach would fit the bill. Maybe something about the unintended good consequences of handing political decisions over to AI ... would make a change from the normal dystopian outcomes beloved of Hollywood!

@atitlan: Interesting you should mention evidence-based policy. There were a number of members of the FAWM/5090 community, each with scientific backgrounds, who are preparing to run for political office on a platform that embraced the need for that very thing.

I was going to suggest that some emotional triggers would be common to almost anyone across the political spectrum, but once that trigger is fired, people would have quite different opinions as to how to resolve the problem. As long as the song left that detail in people's hands, I wouldn't mind it as much.

@Stephen Wordsmith - I like that idea about the same emotional trigger eliciting a different response according to political persuasion. It can happen with specific policy, too. The right and left leaning conception of Basic Income is a good topical example.

Not sure what i can do to 'warn' those that a song will have a political or topical theme except to label it as such, which i've done.

And now, as I'm always saying, 'its sometimes easier to write two songs then just write one' (by which I mean that writing one song, and committing to it, sometimes lets an idea germinate in your head, and you say 'but wait there's more i wanted to say' , or something. SO, here's a second political song over the last 24 hours http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/21645

As for 'keeping it vague' vs 'being specific', I think both can be valid, depends what you want to do, and why, and what you're looking for. It's tough to be 'vague' and hard-hitting, sometimes, without resorting to platitudes that end up not meaning much, but sometimes too specific is not good either. Anyway, its an interesting songwriting exercise to try to write both!

Re: "Your thoughts on political/topical songs in general?"

- I don't want a pickle..., I just wanna ride my motor-sickle...

The sound of one hand clapping is deafening, unless listening carefully.

@cindyrella I too wrote a response a few days ago and then got an error message. I was thinking I wasn't meant to comment on this thread.
I love @mike skliar's political songs, and not just because I agree with his views. They are catchy and smart and groovy. I can't do that. I wrote a real beat-you-over-the-head-with-my-view song back in 2005 or so about the Iraq War. Didn't try another one until this FAWM, and it's one of the few songs I've fully written and not posted. It was about Trump's Twitter use, and it was only mildly funny (I suppose) and not very original. And writing the song kind of bummed me out even more. Had a cool Ramones feel, though, that I used musically elsewhere.
I just posted a song in which I used the word "politics," but it's about lemurs and their habitat on Madagascar.

The ultimate political song might be "WTF is Wrong With People and Why Don't They Agree With Me?" No one would disagree with that sentiment.

ha, good one, standup!
and thanks chip, johnstaples and everyone else who participated on this thread!

nothing much I can think of right now to add to what's been said, but appreciate everyone's comments/thoughts... keep it comin! ...

One rainy day, I saw a gentleman farmer out on his ride-on lawnmower, cutting the grass on the berm beyond his shelterbelt.

I asked him, 'why are you doing that in this weather?'

He replied, 'I just wanna ride my motor-sickle'.

i just cant do political songs- it makes me too angry.

It's a difficult time, and yeah, sometimes songs will make someone angry.. then again, that's perhaps not a bad thing sometimes? if it stirs someone to constructive action, perhaps?

In any event, there was just a skirmish, with the title 'foul play'.. and you can all probably guess the direction i went in Smile


and now, after a few weeks of not writing at all (I was away for a part of that time, too), I sat down with the guitar, started playing these kind of funk chords, and lyrics started coming, ..and surprise, surprise, its' kind of vaguely political! (if you want it to be!)


and a new one from the team of "Seth & Skliar" (this one is mostly Seth)...
called 'There's no problem down there, believe me'


heres my political song
wrote and recorded whilst i was drunk Wink


and I think this may be my best political song from this season.. (your mileage may vary, let me know!)


and now, after taking detours down the highway of writing songs about a grandfather, a great-aunt, existential philosophy, and mooning the moon, here's another political one, appropriately spooky and minor key, i think...

I guess this one is political, http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/22306. It is certainly anti-war!

first political song:

walleye: *23534

and here, hot off the presses, a song about the events in Virginia earlier today


and, the crazy gift that keeps on giving, one more. this one nsfw, so you know, tho I rather like it.


My political song is more of a satire. http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/22722 From The Orange One's perspective - if everyone would like him and just be like him, the world would be fine. Based on my observation that other people don't really seem to exist for him, including his own family; they're just foils to his ego.

I wrote this song for the Electronic Muse challenge- I just rerecorded..like a zillion times..But this version I like best.
The words came from the challenge using lyric cloud- When I first wrote the song I wasn't quite sure if they made sense...I finally tweaked them to where I think they do and it is a political song.
The title is " Symbols of All Remnants " ( or S.O.A.R.)

these things seem to write themselves these days... http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/23913


participation trophies: *24024

Here are some lyrics that I would love collaboration on with music - I think it could be powerful..


this one rocks out about as hard as I ever have... maybe more ramones meets lou reed then me... and it was great fun doin' it!


and after a detour for a song about my ankle problems of late, here's another political one about that 'wall'


I wrote this after the Phoenix debacle.

I read that today is the anniversary of an interesting one-hit-wonder story- songwriters Gerald Goffin & Carole King were busy songwriters and had a babysitter, who they asked to sing on a demo- the singer who was supposed to sing the 'real' version backed out, so the record company issued the demo, which became the hit "Locomotion" for that babysitter, Little Eva. Meanwhile, that opening line 'everybody's doing a brand new dance' inspired this little uke-driven semi-upbeat (for a change) political song 'Antidote'.. enjoy..


and now 'sheriff joe' has a demo...



Political songs don't have to be about cowing the audience into accepting your own leanings.

This song is a portrait of our most venerable member of parliament. It's very much a warts-and-all sort of portrait.

Bottom lines: http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/24836

Edit: And another. Blue: http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/24838

very short song, kind of sad and wistful, i guess.... and im guessing will be the last track on this album i'm putting together of political stuff
curious what folks think of it


and one last one! 'take a knee for democracy'