11 Powerful Political Songs From This Century

11 Powerful Political Songs From This Century
Rise Against rocks out at Made in America Los Angeles 2014. (Photo by: Kayla Merrill)

It’s Election Day 2015, and for generations, musicians have been creating anthems and theme songs to help give us courage and insight into whatever may be going on in our would at any given moment. Here are some of those iconic political songs of today that saw us through to the very end.

1910’s
Irving Berlin, “God Bless America”

Originally written by Irving Berlin as a prayer song during WWI, “God Bless America” took flight with Kate Smith’s vocal rendition.

1920’s
Aunt Molly Jackson, “Hungry Ragged Blues”
Folk singer Aunt Molly Jackson was there expose harsh truths of the blue-collar experience with “Hungry Ragged Blues.”

1930’s
Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”
Written by Abel Meeropol, “Strange Fruit” was made famous by Billie Holiday as an anti-lynching protest song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs

1940’s
Woody Guthrie, “This Land is Your Land”
A response to “God Bless America,” Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land” in hopes of providing an anthem with more punch.

1950’s
The Weavers, “If I Had a Hammer”
“If I Had a Hammer” was a protest song for the progressive movement, and would also later be adapted by many other political movements of the future.

1960’s
The Rolling Stones, “Street Fighting Man”
Deemed the Rolling Stones most political song, “Street Fighting Man” became a a staple of the anti-war movement of the 60s.

1970’s
Marvin Gaye, “What’s Goin On?”
Told from the perspective of a Vietnam vet, “What’s Goin On?” has become a widely adapted anti-war song.

1980’s
U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
When political turmoil in Northern Ireland reached new heights, U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was there to capture the spirit of the crisis.

1990’s
Rage Against the Machine, “Bulls on Parade”
“Bulls on Parade,” just one of many political RATM songs, targets Imperialism.

2000’s
Rise Against, “Re-Education (Through Labor)”
Speaking out against the daily struggle of the American Dream, Rise Against’s “Re-Education (Through Labor)” will surely stand the test of time.

2010’s
Kendrick Lamar, “The Blacker the Berry”

On Kendrick’s hit album, To Pimp a Butterfly, he reflects on personal identity and culture, as well as racial discrimination in America.