Decatur High School, GA

Raising their voices

Musicians get political

March 31, 2017

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s first few months in office, established oldies and rising artists alike are using their music to comment on the political climate in America.

Kendrick Lamar

Lamar (above) is rumored to be releasing an album on April 7, which he hinted at in the closing lyric of “The Heart Part 4.”

Rapper Kendrick Lamar finally broke the radio silence that followed “untitled, unmastered” with the release of his newest single, “The Heart Part 4.” Lamar has always placed honesty at the forefront of his music, and “The Heart Part 4” is no different.

His unrelenting delivery is carried throughout the entire song, most notably during the second verse. Lamar directs his dissatisfaction at Trump, the lyrics flowing off of his lips with ease: “And Russia need a replay button, y’all up to something/ Electoral votes look like memorial votes.”

From start to finish, “The Heart Part 4” is Lamar’s declaration of discontent with America. He leaves fan and critics alike with the line, “You know what time it is, ante up, this is in forever.” His call to action will ring in the ears of listeners long after the song has finished.

Depeche Mode

After Richard Spencer declared Depeche Mode the “official band of the alt-right,” the band released their most forward thinking album to date, “Spirit.” Among the tracklist sits “Where’s the Revolution,” the song that puts Spencer’s claim to rest.

Depeche Mode’s first political commentary was made through “People Are People,” released in 1984.

Frontman Dave Gahan brazenly sings, “Your rights abused/ Your views refused/ They manipulate and threaten/ With terror as a weapon.” Depeche Mode effectively calls out some of the world’s greatest nations and their leaders for their blatant abuse of power. The song continues with a message directed at those being misrepresented in politics, urging them to take a stand as Gahan says, “The train is coming/ So get on board.”

Since the 1980s, Depeche Mode has been making the music of the resistance. If there’s one thing that “Spirit” proves, 14 albums after their debut, it’s that Depeche Mode is a voice for the people, and they always will be.

 

Passenger

Following the release of “A Kindly Reminder,” Rosenberg decided to donate all of the song’s sales to a charity working on relieving the refugee crisis.

Mike Rosenberg, more commonly known by his stage name Passenger, let the world know that he’s anti-Trump with the release of “A Kindly Reminder.”

Rosenberg released the song in late February, feeling that is was his “responsibility” to use his platform to keep the powerful in place. “A Kindly Reminder” does exactly that. From travel bans to small hands, Rosenberg criticizes the fallacies of Trump’s administration.

Although the song is composed of soft guitar melodies and Rosenberg’s dreamy voice, the meaning isn’t lost for a second as he sings, “You’re carving divides through every state/ And you’re filling up hearts with fear and hate.”

“A Kindly Reminder” is a message to Trump and America, and Rosenberg is making sure it’s being heard.

Run the Jewels

If there’s one thing Run the Jewels’ video for “Legend Has It” is, it’s political. Though there are no direct references to the government, resistance is woven into every lyric and every frame.

EI-P (left) and Killer Mike (right) collaborated with director Brian Beletic to make the video.

The video opens with a police lineup. A wide array of characters stand side by side: a nun, a man in a cast and criminals. As the video’s narrative unfolds, Killer Mike and E-IP create a commentary on the problems within America’s justice system. They use mass incarceration statistics and the dramatization of the police’s interrogation techniques to point out the racial inequality plaguing prisons across the nation.

“Legend Has It” targets the conscious of the American people, forcing them to wonder, are we really innocent until proven guilty?

 

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