It’s November, so you know what that means: Midterm elections are less than a week away!
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last couple of months, then you know that the United States’ midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Midterms are held during the middle of the presidents current term of service — hence, “miderms” — and they are elections for the House and Senate, as well as governors. So while we may not be voting for a new president just yet, the representatives that we put into office will really affect how “easy” the last two years of President Trump’s current term is.
So, yeah, you could say that midterms are pretty important.
To get in the spirit, I have created a top ten list of politically-motivated songs that I love and inspire me to get out and vote.
“Happy Judgement Day” by Neck Deep
“Happy Judgement Day” comes off of Neck Deep’s third studio album “The Peace and The Panic.” Hailing from Wales, UK, the pop punk band took their political stance on the political climate of the world shortly after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
There’s a strong, sarcastic tone throughout this song, seen in lyrics like “Oh, what a time to be alive! / Wake up and smell the dynamite.”
Themes that are touched upon include reliance on our phone screens, Brexit, the infamous Wall and worshiping celebrities. There’s a lot touched on, but considering the enormity of what Judgement Day is supposed to be, it’s fitting to touch on that many themes.
The songs overarching opinion is that ultimately, we are fucked, and we did this to ourselves.
“Building walls / dropping bombs / stop the world, I’m getting off / oh we almost had it / then we pissed it all away.”
“Everyone Lies To Me” by Knuckle Puck
This track comes off of their latest release “Shapeshifter.” While the album in its entirety isn’t a political album, this track is one that comments on the nature of our current government.
The lyrics comment on how our current generation is undoubtedly listening to what the government is telling us, and how they make up our minds for us. There are lyrics in here that can’t be taken as anything but political — for example, “They’ll cut tax for crooked and corporate” and “Cause education only taught you what they want you to know.”
It’s on the angstier side of pop-punk, something that I’ve always really enjoyed about Knuckle Puck.
“Hands Held High” by Linkin Park
This song came off of their 2007 album “Minutes to Midnight,” and this track has always hit me right in the gut. The song criticizes rich men and politicians who use their power to further themselves in life.
There’s much speculation that this song directly comments on the Bush Patriot Act, by saying that Bush was taking away freedoms entitled to us as Americans.
Other parts of the song comment directly on the War on Terror, and certain scenarios that were happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What I like most about this song is not only the lyricism, but the simple snare drum beat that follows it. It reminds me of something that a marching band would play — and I’m sure it’s meant to sound like something a soldier would march to.
“Hero of War” by Rise Against
This acoustic track is always heartbreaking to listen to. The song follows a Iraq veteran looking back on the hardships that he endured during war.
The lyrics allude to a couple different situations, one of them being the human rights violations committed by American troops against detainees in Iraq.
“We took him away / A bag over his face / From his family and his friends / They took off his clothes / They pissed in his hands / I told them to stop / But then I joined in / We beat him with guns / And batons not just once / But again and again.”
Another situation that arises is a woman or child that walks out during a firefight and how the narrator has to shoot them down, as they don’t know if they are an innocent bystander or a suicide bomber.
The song is meant to showcase the heartbreaking situations that our soldiers go through overseas, and to hopefully persuade people to not support the War on Terror.
“Dear Mr. President” by P!nk
P!nk is one of my favorite vocalists, and songs like this play a huge reason as to why that is. This song is so underrated.
This song acts as P!nk’s open letter to the president, who, at the time, was George W. Bush. The lyrics comment on the War on Terror, No Child Left Behind Act, the disapproval of homosexuality, lack of empathy for the poor, and Bush’s strong religious beliefs.
The lyrics are posed as questions, such as “How do you sleep while the rest of us cry? / How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?”
It’s a really moving song that stands the test of time; many comments on the YouTube video of this song suggest that President Trump have a listen.
“Still Waiting” by Sum 41
This song has a sick guitar riff that takes off in the beginning, which really drives this powerful anthem.
The song opens up with “So am I / still waiting / for this world to stop hating?”
Vocalist Deryck Whibley said in an interview with MTV back in 2002 that this song isn’t just about the war on terrorism, but “. . .the war on everything. It’s about the world as we know it.” He also said that the song was heavily inspired by the events of 9/11.
“American Idiot” by Green Day
Who would I be if I didn’t include “American Idiot?” This entire album of the same name was a concept album during the time of George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004. The song was heavily inspired by his politics, 9/11, and the War on Terror.
This song also comments on the affects that the media has on consumers, especially in the post 9/11 period where Americans were on edge.
This song is an absolute banger, in case you haven’t heard.
“A World Divided” by Our Last Night
This song doesn’t comment on politics the same way that the others on this list have, but it still shows a strong point of view: we are divided amongst ourselves by the color of our skin and our beliefs.
“Divided by the colors / Split by our beliefs / Forced against each other / nothing’s as it seems / But between white walls, we could forget it all / The fear would fade, we could start to change / A world divided and afraid!”
I think it takes a good approach and is a little bit more timeless than the rest of the picks on this list. Segregation has always been an issue in our society and the way that we see each other.
“20 Dollar Nose Bleed” by Fall Out Boy
One of my favorite things about Fall Out Boy is that their lyrics are very much left up to interpretation — this song is no exception.
The song mostly refers to a drug called Benzedrine, an amphetamine that is known for causing nosebleeds. But there’s also some political references in the second verse:
“It feels like fourteen carats but no clarity / When I look at the man who would be king / The man who would be king / Goes to the desert, the same war his dad rehearsed / Came back with flags on coffins and said / “‘We won, oh we won!'”
It’s been speculated that this verse is about George W. Bush in his president-elect state (looking like fourteen carats but no clarity) and going to the same war that his dad had (George H. W. Bush also went to war in the middle east during his presidency).
“Imagine” by John Lennon
To close out this list, I figured I would bring back this gem. This has got to be one of the most political songs of all time, perhaps. This song came out by former-Beatles member John Lennon in 1971. It was very anti-war, this war being the one in Vietnam at the time.
The lyrics are asking the listener to just imagine what life would be like with no religion, no countries, no possessions. It’s a really interesting thought. The simple piano that flows throughout the piece carries the lyrics from one verse to the next.
It’s a sugar-coated, optimistic, hopeful song. That’s something that we might need more of sometimes.
I hope you enjoyed my picks! Let me know what yours are!