In an Indie Wire article by Eric Kohn in October 2020 David Byrne of the Talking Heads is asked: “To what extent do you believe your art actually becomes a catalyst for change?”
Byrne replies: “I’ve been asking myself this question — how much influence art can have — and I don’t know the answer yet. In some cases, it definitely has an effect. In most cases, I think what it does is lets people know they’re not alone."
In the book Music is Power: Popular Songs, Social Justice, and the Will to Change author Brad Schreiber explores what Byrne is talking about. Can the protest song really change anything?
Schreiber takes you on a tour through the past 100 years of politically-conscious music from Pete Seeger to NWA. You look closely at genres, like reggae, country, metal, rap, punk, folk and soul. You learn how protest songs become rallying cries to victims of injustice.
In the end, maybe protest music won’t change things as much as we hope, but it can make you feel less alone in your work towards that change.
My covers and original protest songs are together in one album called The Protest Project and it’s available for free at kregmusic.com