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Old 27th December 2010, 12:50 PM
Rebel Soul Rebel Soul is offline
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Arrow "Which goes to show that music changes nothing"

Back in 2009, I remember hearing Robin introducing 'Tyler' and more or less saying the words that are partly quoted as the thread title. I've always been into artists with a social message but hearing Robin say that re-confirmed something for me: No matter how clear or articulate an artist is at attacking injustices, it doesn't necessarily mean that justice will be done just through singing songs about them.

It would be nice if songs had that power did but people listen to music to be entertained, soothed, relaxed etc - even 'political songs'. They don't listen to them to be educated. What songs can do is raise awareness, plant tiny seeds. 'Free Nelson Mandela' and 'Sing Our Own Song', for instance.

Here's a good interview with Paul Weller and Mick Talbot, which I think is relevant. They're talking about their time with The Style Council when they aligned themselves with the Labour party (see from 4:20 to 8:10). It provides a good idea of what can happen if the politics overshadows the music. And the pitfalls of 'jumping into bed' with political parties (not a nice thought!)

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Old 27th December 2010, 07:50 PM
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nephertiti nephertiti is offline
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I agree - It does raise awareness and even more so when it is sung at large gatherings...I think it also gives a sense that there are many people thinking the same thing.........

Madame Medusa gets my blood pumping even though the lady in question is no longer here - it can remind us of where we do not want to back to...

Agree aligning with political parties is a very big risk cause they could change policy...imagine if anyone had associated themselves with the lib dems...........!!

Songs in dictatorships used to be distributed in tapes (ok old school) but they were copied and that way many people got to lsiten to them...you got many people singing the words some who might not read) and although you could not measure the effect probably...the message got round.....

So it does not change nothing........
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Old 27th December 2010, 08:54 PM
Rebel Soul Rebel Soul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephertiti View Post
I agree - It does raise awareness and even more so when it is sung at large gatherings...I think it also gives a sense that there are many people thinking the same thing.........

Madame Medusa gets my blood pumping even though the lady in question is no longer here - it can remind us of where we do not want to back to...

Agree aligning with political parties is a very big risk cause they could change policy...imagine if anyone had associated themselves with the lib dems...........!!

Songs in dictatorships used to be distributed in tapes (ok old school) but they were copied and that way many people got to lsiten to them...you got many people singing the words some who might not read) and although you could not measure the effect probably...the message got round.....

So it does not change nothing........
During Madam Medusa's time in 10 Downing Street in the 1980s, the more people protested (on the street and in songs), the worse things got! Talk about dropping a massive hint.

Red Wedge didn't have much effect but I can see its appeal to some of the artists involved. As for the audience, I'm sure they were going to those gigs for the music and not the politics. Not that they were against them but music's a way of forgetting those things too. When the Red Wedge tour came to Bradford in January 1986, I attended the press conference which was held in the afternoon. What I remember was Weller having to fend off loads of questions (and verbal attacks) that were nothing to do with music. Much as he says in the video.

As you say, certain songs can reflect what a lot of people are feeling. In overt dictatorships around the world today, music does still have that potential to unsettle the establishment, much less so in Britain.
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Old 27th December 2010, 09:01 PM
Rebel Soul Rebel Soul is offline
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Billy Bragg sums it up pretty well:

"The image of the protest singer has always been seductive - but the notion that you can change the world by singing songs can only serve to undermine activism. Sure, we songwriters have a role to play - we can bring people together to express solidarity, we can help to raise funds, we can use our platform to offer different perspectives - but once we step down from the stage, we are individuals with nothing more than the brittle power that celebrity bestows. My experience tells me that real change can only be achieved by organised individuals working together with one another in common cause."
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