Do you think there's no good protest music these days? So did I, until I started looking for it. The truth is, it’s always been out there, but it's sometimes just a bit difficult to find. Every month, I search it out, listen to it all, then round up the best of it that relates to that month’s political news. Here’s the round-up for September 2023.
1. KILL, THE ICON! - YOUR ANGER IS RATIONAL
2. DAN ROSE - THIS HOUSE IS ON FIRE
3. RAHUL RAJKHOWA - TUNES FOR THE JUNGLE
4. DARAH - BLACKFELLA REVOLUTIONARY
5. HIRST, MOGINIE & STUART - RED CONTINENT
6. IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS - PROTECT YOUR LIGHT
7. VUSI MAHLASELA - UMOYA - EMBRACING THE HUMAN SPIRIT
8. CHRIS PIERCE - LET ALL WHO WILL
9. OTEP - THE GOD SLAYER
"Black women" are one of the many influences groundbreaking metal musician Otep cites in creating her latest hard-as-nails album, released on September 15. Others include "Generation Z", "the Trans community", "animal rights advocates", "Indigenous women" and "the women in Iran". Discussing the record, which came out as Donald Trump was still riding high as the most likely Republican presidential nominee despite facing multiple court cases, she said: "Where we are now politically is we're actually fighting fascism in America ... I'm working class ... I'm always gonna represent the working class, and I am a liberal, and I'm gay and I'm a vegan. For me, I draw a very, very — I mean, it's not even a line - I've dug a canyon between my side and whatever red [the Republican party] means now." And in case anyone wants to cross that line to pick a fight, she cites one of her biggest influences as "powerlifting at the gym". LISTEN>>>
10. JOAN OSBORNE - NOBODY OWNS YOU
One musician who probably wouldn't try it on with Otep is disgraced Anti-Flag singer Justin Sane. On September 5, Rolling Stone magazine published an article in which 12 more women accused the supposedly leftist, pro-feminist punk of sexual assault. One of his alleged victims was a 12-year-old girl from his church group when he was 17. That may leave people wondering whether the church was where he learnt to put on a pious public persona while allegedly abusing people in private. Three days after the article was published, veteran US country musician Joan Osborne released her album Nobody Owns You, whose title track is a feminist anthem she wrote for her daughter to defend her against such men. Days earlier, another supposedly leftist musician, Nahko Bear, released his new album, Trenches, whose title alludes to his claim he has been "cancelled" by the many women who've accused him of assault. LISTEN>>>
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[Mat Ward has been writing for Green Left since 2009. He also wrote the book Real Talk: Aboriginal Rappers Talk About Their Music And Country and makes political music. This year, Mat Ward released his new album, Climate Wars.]
Stream our new “Best protest songs of 2023” playlist on Spotify. This replaces the previous “Political albums” playlist, that was getting too big at more than 700 albums.
Read about more political albums.
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