In case you've been living under a rock, today's Election Day! You've got to get your ballot postmarked today or delivered to a drop site>"/>
If you're finding yourself disillusioned by political maneuvering, partisan politics, and a shitty economy that only seems to get worse--well, you're not alone. At least you can take solace in knowing that unhappiness with political strife often leads to great music (Reagan and Thatcher aiding the rise of '80s punk, anyone?). Here's five great songs about apathy, activism, and political turmoil.
5. "I'm So Bored With the USA." Alright, so this song probably won't make you feel any better about America, but it might put today's problems in perspective. According to the Clash, American society sucked back in 1977, when this song was recorded. The shadow of Watergate still loomed, America was all about getting involved in other nations' governments, and everyone was apparently on drugs. It could always be worse, right?
4. "I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore." As Billy Bragg pointed out during his set at Bumbershoot this year (and which he repeats in this video), Woody Guthrie's songs are as relevant today as ever. "I Ain't Go Not No In This World Anymore" could be the anthem of the unemployed and foreclosed-upon.
3. "Bastards of Young." Does every generation feel disillusioned by its circumstances? The Replacements did, back in 1985, when Tim was released. Paul Westerberg and crew were so frustrated by being young in America--"dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled/ It beats pickin' cotton, waitin' to be forgotten"--they couldn't be bothered to appear in their music video for "Bastards of Young," opting instead to film a single speaker blasting the song.
2. "Fortunate Son." Ever feel like only the rich and privileged have any luck and that pretty much every one else gets screwed? Creedence Clearwater Revival definitely does. Although this song talks specifically about Vietnam, these lines feel relevant in today's economy: "Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand/ Lord, don't they help themselves, y'all/ But when the taxman comes to the door/ Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale."
1. "Do They Owe Us A Living?" In the world of political punk bands, I'd vote for Crass as king (which, ironically, is the opposite of what these anarchists would want.) With their astute observation about politics and government greed, Crass's songs are as important now as they were during Thatcher's administration. Any young person who is trying to find success but feeling beat down by a damaged world can relate to this criticism of the government: "The living that is owed to me I'm never going to get /They've buggered this old world up/ up to their necks in debt."