The music industry is full of artists, albums, and songs that represent life and the world itself. We can relate to these in many areas of our own lives. From love and heartbreak to songs about partying it up, I think the following songs deserve some recognition (and a listen) for their views on the world coming from politically charged, social changing standpoints. I have narrowed it down to 5 political songs that, I believe, are brilliant pieces of artwork and are a wake up call to everyone about what is happening in the world as of recently in our past decade.
1."Belief" by John Mayer (2006) -
Okay, so this one is the earliest songs of the bunch in my list of "recent" songs but it still speaks volumes today. Belief is a powerful song that speaks to the masses on the topic of war and fighting ideologies. Everyone has their own opinions on issues regarding religions, politics etc. but those very same beliefs can cause conflict; we will never overcome or win something if it is based on beliefs over another. In particular this song was written about the Iraq War. The song lyrics throughout speak for itself but the most chilling lyrics:
"What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
Belief can, belief can
What puts a folded flag inside his mother's hand?
Belief can, belief can."
2. "High For Hours" by J.Cole (2017) -
A recent song which covers many topics from the hypocrisy in religion, fighting terrorism, the greed in our world, the oppression of African-Americans, and even rapping about his unique experience meeting with (former) President Obama. It is compelling in the fact that it points out all issues in relevance to where our current state is, and that change all comes down to you. Powerful song lyrics:
Corruption always leads us to the same shit again
So when you talk about revolution dawg, I hear just what you saying
What good is taking over, when we know what you gon' do
The only real revolution happens right inside of you"
3. "Freedom" by Pharrell Williams (2015) -
The liberating song is a call to the world for peace and freedom. The political and environmental issues we face today in regard to human existence being oppressed as well as harmful actions on nature with the effects of global warming. Strong song lyrics:
When night sees sunrise
When the whale hunts in the sea
When man recognizes
4. "What Do I Know?" by Ed Sheeran (2017) -
This song is not so much political in nature but more so Ed Sheeran's opinion on the world around him with some sort of references to politics. He says that although he is only a musician, and some may think he does not know much about the world around him, he believes that through his music things can change in the world. Love, understanding, and positivity are things that can revolutionize the world. The song lyrics:
"Everybody's talking 'bout exponential growth
And the stock market crashing in their portfolios
While I'll be sitting here with a song I wrote
Sing, love could change the world in a moment
But what do I know?"
5. "Wake Up Everybody" By John Legend & The Roots ft. Melanie Fiona and Common (2010) -
Now this one I admit is a little bit of a "cheat" song considering it is a cover, and was originally made by the group Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes in 1975. I absolutely love their version as well, but this modern spin and added rap verse(s) in the song brings it into todays world for the younger generations, while spreading a message. The great thing about this song is that it promotes positive change in the world and is still relevant to today. It gives appreciation for all the people who make the world great as it can be. Some lyrics:
"The world won't get no better
If we just let it be
The world won't get no better
We gotta change it yeah,
Just you and me."
Overall, there are SO many songs I could add to this list... I enjoy listening to songs that advocate for what is going on in our world. Musicians have the ability and platform to LITERALLY make issues heard and allow you to evaluate and form ideas about many different issues for yourself. Take a listen to the songs I have mentioned above. What is your go to politically charged track of the current decade?