“What is the music of #OccupyWallStreet?” NPR music critic Ann Powers asked on Twitter over the weekend. As the movement rolls on after a weekend that brought hundreds of arrests and lots of publicity, we think that’s an excellent question. From the hippie ’60s to the riot grrrl ’90s, every great political struggle has had a soundtrack of its own. And while past anthems like Crass’s “Do They Owe Us a Living?” and Dead Kennedys’ “Kill the Poor” are certainly applicable to Occupy Wall Street’s critique of economic injustice and capitalism run amok, we think new music is vital to new movements. With that in mind, we’ve taken a stab at compiling some great politically conscious songs that have come out in the past five years. Add your suggestions (or, you know, gripe about “kids these days”) in the comments.
“Laugh, Love, Fuck” by The Coup
The quote “If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution” is most often attributed to the famous anarchist Emma Goldman. She may never have actually said those words, but we’re happy to co-sign them. The message of this anthem by veteran Bay Area political hip-hop crew The Coup is similar: “I’m here to laugh, love, fuck, and drink liquor — and help the damn revolution come quicker,” frontman Boots Riley declares.”If I’m not involved, I feel I ain’t breathin’/ If I can’t change the world, I ain’t leavin’,” he says, playfully adding, “And that’s the same reason you should call me this evening.”