The tradition of the protest song is as old as the protest itself.
Across the world, over the centuries, they have always existed in some form or another.
Where there is a protest there is music. In that spirit, here are the songs that will definitely be on my playlist during the March For Our Lives last weekend.
1. "Dear Mr. President" by P!nk
Written shortly after George W. Bush was elected, it is scary how relevant this song remains. This song is timeless, largely due to the perfectly simple framing device: a perfectly earnest plea for answers from a concerned citizen.
2. "We The People" by A Tribe Called Quest
This song, in contrast, is entirely a product of its time, as the band has confirmed, and as anyone can hear on the chorus.
3. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" by Bob Dylan
And then there's this, the protest song of all protest songs. Its inclusion on this list should surprise no one.
4. "No Guns Allowed" by Snoop Lion ft. Drake and Cori B
The title of this one is a little on the nose, but it is well-written, and it brings up a topic not often addressed in this type of song: mental health.
5. "Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance
Teenagers are forces for change, more than most of us realize, and I hope when we march, we "scare the living shit" out of legislators who never thought to take us seriously. This song also deals with a potential shooter's mindset in the second verse.
6. "Ignorance" by Paramore
That undeniable chorus has never felt more relevant.
7. "Holiday" by Green Day
I couldn't make this list without including a song from American Idiot, and this fist-pumping condemnation of the "hollow lies" of politicians was the obvious choice.
8. "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People
This is ostensibly an odd choice for this list — a song where the protagonist is a school shooter — but the song does a lot to explain the variety of things that may lead to mental instability, abuse, isolation and self-hatred chief among them.
9. "My Shot" from The Hamilton Mixtape (Various Artists)
This beats the original for this list because while they both carry the revolutionary spirit, the details in each verse of the remix make it truly vital.
10. "Mi Gente" by J.Balvin and Willy William
As much as I enjoy a good, angry protest song, I am aware of important it is to show and advocate unity during a protest. Here is the first song in that spirit. (Also, yes, I chose the one without Beyonce. Don't kill me.)
11. "American Oxygen" by Rihanna
This march, and indeed all protests, showcase a belief in the fundamental value of democracy. Surely this is why the right to protest was included in the Bill of Rights. We the people want our voices heard, and we will make it so.
12. "The World Will Know" by Newsies OBC
Judging by the media reaction to Parkland and the march, the world will be made fully aware of our action Saturday. The impact will be for time to tell.
13. "Water Guns" by Todrick Hall ft. Jordin Sparks
This, my favorite song on the list comes to us by way of Youtuber Todrick Hall. Written and performed in the hours after the Pulse shooting, it is a poignant plea for an end to the senseless violence.
14. "Vivir Mi Vida" by Jennifer Lopez
I couldn't find the cover on Youtube, so this is a placeholder. I thought the slower, more thoughtful take was fitting.
15. "Born For This" by Paramore
This is an ode to hope and going after what you want, regardless of the consequences. The bonus: it makes me feel energized whenever I hear it.
16. "Disappear" by Dear Evan Hansen
The message is simple here: everyone matters. That goes for all marching as well as all who feel isolated and alone.
17. "Kids in America" by Kim Wilde
Aside from being an 80's classic, it also speaks to the way youth can affect waves of changes over generations.
18. "All That's Known" by Spring Awakening Cast
This song is about a young man learning to think for himself, and of particular interest, in this case, is the lyric "Money is their idol." In fact, the reprise in the finale works even better than the original, as it is about the same young man learning to cope with tragedy and carry the memory of his loved ones with him always.
19. "Rise Up" by Andra Day
This is another song whose inclusion requires precisely no explanation.
20. "El Mismo Sol" by Alvaro Soler ft. Jenifer Lopez
I listen to this song almost every day, and there's a reason why. It is a catchy, beautiful song about global unity. The diversity shown in the crowds protesting speaks to the prevalence of this issue in modern-day America. It affects you, no matter who you are.
21. "Found/Tonight" by Ben Platt and Lin Manuel Miranda
This song was recorded by each musical's original leading man in tribute to both victims and the march, and it doubles down on the messages of both: you are not alone in this, and history will remember what you do by your protest.
22. "Careful" by Paramore
Are you tired of waiting around for change and swallowing false truths? This is your anthem.
23. "Thoughts and Prayers" by grandson
Undoubtedly the newest song on this list, this track takes to ask the trite "thoughts and prayers" posts that often clog social media after a tragedy, as well as the inaction attached.