The Headphone Jack

Turning away from bad break-ups or other mainstream music topics, artists are using political statements within their lyrics to hopefully create change, ranging from Beyonce’s “Formation” about police brutality or Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” about questioning the wisdom of leaders in power. 

Many artists have begun writing songs about the issues we all face, and how things like climate change, struggles in low-income areas or mass shootings make them feel. 

One song that recently stood out was Grandson’s “Blood // Water,” which focuses on political corruption and its effects on the younger generation. 

One lyric is “The price of your greed is your son and your daughter, what you gon’ do, when there’s blood in the water?” It could be a reference to how those making choices affect everyone’s way of life, a reference to Flint, Michigan, or even talking about how the greed of corporations, overfarming and entitlement can go too far and spoil life for everyone else. 

Grandson has a way of using metaphors to talk about bigger topics, and he is not alone. Kehlani and Eminem recently released “Nowhere Fast,” which is about the status of the country and where it is headed, recent terrorist attacks, the North Korean nuclear threat and gun control. 

The line “they love their guns more than they love their children,” really stands out because while children died at Sandy Hook Elementary and Parkland High School, gun owners gripped their guns tighter. It’s the teenagers that are fighting for gun control. 

Another song would be “Earth” by Lil Dicky and other featured artists, particularly about climate change. Although some lyrics seem less serious, the overall theme of the song is to create awareness that if we don’t change our ways, we won’t get to talk about the “rhinos, horny as heck” or the koala’s that like to sleep. As Lil Dicky said, “We’re being stupid.”

“America” by Logic explores white supremacy’s rise during the Trump era, the increase of suicide attempts, lack of gun control, white entitlement, drug addiction and more. Almost every controversial topic someone could bring up is in this song. 

“This is America” by Donald Glover (a.k.a Childish Gambino) attempts to address the stereotypes placed upon those who are African American and the issues they may face, gun control, police brutality, mass shootings, and more. The impression is that we shouldn’t be distracted by superficial entertainment or current pop culture, but instead face the real problems in the country today.

All of these songs are creative and have started more conversations, but the ideas are nothing new. Metallica’s “...And Justice for All,” “99 Revolutions” by Green Day, “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People, “Ghetto Gospel” by Tupac, “Imagine” by John Lennon, “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine about the Rodney King incident, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2, or even “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen, which talks about ignoring Vietnam veterans, are just a few of many songs to start conversations on important issues. 

All of these songs discuss events or issues that shape society today, and the current crop of political songs are only carrying the torch forward. 

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