Message Music: Where will the protest song turn next?

Protest March February 2003
Anti-War March, 2003
Photo: KimberLeigh Schartz

You can chase down all your enemies
bring them to their knees
You can bomb the world to pieces
but you can't bomb it into peace

From "Bomb da World" by Michael Franti

Musicians in every genre continue to write protest songs, although many complain that these songs do not receive widespread airplay or distribution. Diverse rockers like Bruce Springsteen, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle and System Of A Down have contributed to the protest lexicon in the last few years, some tackling specific injustices, others taking on the larger implications of America's tragedy and response since September 11, 2001. Hip hop and rap artists like and Michael Franti & Spearhead, OutKast and KRS-One, who traditionally tackle social themes, continue to record critical songs, while electronic artists like DJ Shadow have begun to contribute protest works as well. Other "progressive" artists, including Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton, Rage Against the Machine and others, take on issues that range from environmentalism to economic justice to anti-war to media takeovers. Will these songs have an impact? Only time will tell how long their songs will last or what meanings they take on in the future.

Visit these Web sites to hear the anti-war message music being created today:

The Beastie Boys Web site featuring "In A World Gone Mad"

The John Mellencamp Web site featuring "To Washington"

The Lenny Kravitz Web site featuring "We Want Peace"

Downloadable MP3 collection at

Corporate flag billboard created by Adbusters

are we really going to sleep through another century
while the rich profit off our blood
yeah it may take some doing
to see this undoing through
but in my humble opinion
here's what i suggest we do
open fire on hollywood
open fire on mtv
open fire on nbc and cbs and abc
open fire on the nra
and all the lies they told us along the way

From "To The Teeth" by Ani DiFranco

All lyrics are provided for informational and educational purposes only.
Lyrics are subject to all U.S. copyright laws and remain property of their respective owners.

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