08/27/12Posted in features by L4LM


The State of Politics And Music



By Kunj Shah

With the looming presidential election and the impact musicians have in the American community, it’s no secret how coveted an endorsement from the music world is. It’s also no secret Democrats usually garner more public support from performers than Republicans. However, these year things seem to have taken a different turn. On Friday, it seems Republican VP pick Paul Ryan received some Rock and Roll support from Kid Rock, who will be playing at the Republican National convention. Other performances at the Republican National convention include a song premiere called “One Light” by 3 Doors Down, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd (which may be delayed or cancelled due to the hurricane), the Oak Ridge Boys, Neal Boyd, Randy Owens, Taylor Hicks, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Bebe Winans.

Still, Republicans are not the only ones collecting musicians this year. The National will be “opening” for President Obama at a stop in Des Moines, IA on September 1st. They had previously thrown their support behind President Obama with Ben Harper in 2008. Democrats have also booked James Taylor for their Democratic National Convention along with scheduled performances by Common, Inspire the Fire, Delta Rae, and local performing musical acts from America’s Got Talent.

While some believe this is all a distraction from the issues, I'm very curious to know what different artists’ views are on the pending election and issues surrounding this country. Artists and musicians used to be some of the top proprietors of social, civil, and political change in our country. Today, it seems fewer musicians are outspoken about their political views, some only play to the highest bidder, and others just tip-toe around the subject.  Even those performing at each of these conventions are pretty tight lipped about their views on any of the policies or ideas for either candidates.

One would think invention of social media would help enact some social change. However, it seems as if an artist has a million something followers on a social platform the most controversial issue they will tweet or post about is their support for either hard or soft tacos. More musicians in today’s world choose not to take a public stance on everyday real issues and almost seem afraid of the notion. They claim it’s not “our job” to voice their opinion on policies, current events, laws, and government. But isn’t that exactly “our job” as citizens of a Democracy? When this country was founded, wasn't there a vision of having an educated and outspoken electorate? If you have the influence, why not use it to bring about discussion? Aren’t there any concerns about the world you live in, which you want to have addressed?  The level of conversation in this country seems to be lower than it has ever been in years, and only the most trivial of issues seem  to be discussed in any public forum.  Anthony Weiner's wiener got more news coverage than the global economic crisis going on at the time.

The amount of music created influenced by social, political, economic, and racial issues has dropped significantly.  John Lennon once praised Chuck Berry by saying he “was writing intelligent lyrics in the 1950s when people were singing 'Oh baby I love you so.'" According to Lennon, "It was people like him that influenced our generation to try and make sense out of the songs rather than just sing 'do wah diddy.'" Music used to have the power to move people, and change history. In this day and age, songs don’t need to be filled with lyrics on social issues like Bob Dylan’s, but artists shouldn’t be afraid to converse about these issues as well. The social consciousness in music seems to be drifting back to the 1950’s. Influence is power, and with power comes social responsibility.

There are those who speak out. Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke of being a fan of Rage Against the Machine’s music. In reaction, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine almost instantly wrote a piece in Rolling Stone explaining to readers, “Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against.” Artists support amazing groups like Head Count and Rock the Vote, which help mobilize people to vote. We just need more of an outcry from more of our nation’s influencers, and we need it now. No matter what your beliefs, a democracy needs conversation and debate like a musician needs practice.


Related


Comments


Phish Hints At Live Vinyl Release

A new Facebook post from Phish seems to be indicating a forthcoming, massive live vi ...


Anders Osborne Added to Soulive's Bowlive Run

Bowlive VI is shaping up to be yet another successful run at Brooklyn Bowl for the So ...


Backwoods Festival Reveals Scrambled Lineup

After revealing that The Floozies and Keller Williams would be performing at the Bac ...


Gary Glitter Sentenced To 16 Years In Prison On Sexual Abuse Charges

Former pop star Gary Glitter has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexually ab ...


Error Messages Plague Grateful Dead Reunion Travel Package Sale

For the lucky few who were able to buy travel packages from CID Entertainment, kudos. ...


Skrillex and Diplo's 24-Hour DJ Set Broken Up By Police

DJs Skrillex and Diplo were 18-hours into their 24-hour-long DJ set, when the duo wer ...


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Writes A Song A Day Based On Stories From The Guardian

Will Butler announced earlier this week that he would write a song a day based on h ...


New Tool Album Is 'Progressing Nicely,' Says Maynard James Keenean

Prog-metal band Tool have been working on their first new album since 2006, and accor ...


Unmasked Daft Punk Immortalized in Statue Form

A huge factor of Daft Punk's image is those futuristic masks, which has been a tradem ...


Kanye West Issues Public Apology To Beck

After Kanye West insulted Beck at the Grammy awards by claiming that Beyonce deserved ...


Ed Sheeran Covers 'I'm In Love With The CoCo' And It's Randomly Awesome

Who knew a song centered around the lyrics "I'm in love with the coco" (a reference ...


Listen To Superhuman Happiness' New Single, 'Super 8'

Superhuman Happiness, the mystical pop-driven band with thoroughly dynamic compositio ...


Exclusive: The Motet Ring In The New Year 'Funklandia' Style With Jen Hartswick

L4LM is proud to debut this exclusive video of The Motet's New Years Eve celebration ...


Watch The Official Jam Cruise Aftermovie; 2016 Dates & Ports Announced!

The official Jam Cruise 13 Aftermovie is here! Look out for you and your friends, a ...


Digital Tape Machine Drops Single 'Face Behind the Face'

Digital Tape Machine is back in the studio working on some new tracks. The group has ...


HARD Events Announces Massive goHARD Festival Tour

HARD Events has announced a massive festival tour this spring that will hit Seattle, ...


Record Industry Sets Friday As Global Record Release Day

The record industry has proclaimed Friday as the official global release day for new ...


The Complete Guide To New Orleans Jazz Fest After-Hours

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is one of the most unique and culturally ri ...


What It Means To Embrace The Face: An Interview With CashorTrade.org Founder Brando Rich

With tickets for "Fare Thee Well" Grateful Dead reunion concert going on sale this Sa ...


On The Road With Umphrey's McGee: The Official Band Tour Log

Umphrey’s McGee and Live for Live Music are teaming up in 2015 to bring you exclusi ...


An In-Depth Look At Jungle Jam 2015: Interview With Promoter Chris D

In anticipation of this year's Jungle Jam Festival in Costa Rica, we sat down with f ...


Top Musical Moments of Mardi Gras

Most people who haven't had the pleasure of attending Mardi Gras in New Orleans te ...


The Brass Bands You Need To Know

From NOLA to the world over, brass music is nothing but a good time. The celebratory ...


The 2015 Complete Music Festival Guide

Festival announcements are at an all-time high, and it's up to us to help you weed th ...


Railroad Earth Bassist Andrew Altman Talks New Solo EP, Collab With Warren Haynes

Railroad Earth’s dexterous bass player, Andrew Altman has been a busy guy lately. O ...


Exploring The DRKWAV Darkness With Skerik

DRKWAV emerged from the darkness, with drummer Adam Deitch, keyboardist John Medeski, ...


10 Awesome Videos To Commemorate Kurt Cobain On His Birthday

Kurt Cobain would have been 48 years old today. The Nirvana frontman's legacy remains ...


Top Photos From Jen Hartswick's Super Jam In Colorado

Last weekend, the great Jennifer Hartswick hosted an all-star SuperJam at the 1Up Col ...


Top 10 Musical Moments From SNL 40

Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary special brought together a whole slew of past ...


10 Amazing Tom Hamilton Moments With JRAD, Electron, American Babies, and More

Coming off of a slew of highly-acclaimed 2014 shows with Joe Russo's Almost Dead (JRA ...


Jon Stewart's Leaving The Daily Show: Check Out His Greatest Musical Guests

We're all saddened to hear that Jon Stewart, the longtime host of The Daily Show, wil ...


10 Best Photos From Karl Denson's Brooklyn Bowl Run

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe brought an explosive three nights to Brooklyn Bowl thi ...


Tom Hamilton Discusses JRAD, Grateful Dead, American Babies and The Life of a Working Musician

Tom Hamilton is what you might call a musical renaissance man. He has earned the resp ...


January Roundup: Sco-Mule, JRAD, Island Getaways & More

Check out all of our favorite highlights from the past month of music... Gov't Mule F ...



Instafeed



    L4LM Twitter