I mentioned in a bonus posting last Saturday that I was now making a weekly contribution to a download-only publication being produced by Raith Rovers FC. Here’s my 500(ish) words that were published today:-
“The initial idea behind this part of the Rovers Bulletin was for it to be of a light-hearted nature.
The plan, agreed with our esteemed editor, was to come up with five song titles that had some sort of link to a topical theme, but in a way that hopefully amused readers and maybe even raised the occasional laugh. Even last week’s extended list of ten songs which were to do with antics of Dominic Cummings had a hint of satire behind the anger and frustration, but to try the same again this week would be futile and would demean the events of the past couple of weeks in America.
Protest songs have been part of the fabric of society for decades. Many of the best-known songs were written in response to issues and events that have faced the black communities across America. The famous and brilliant jazz singer, Billie Holliday, recorded ‘Strange Fruit’ as long ago as 1939 as a protest about the lynchings carried out by the Klu Klux Klan – anger in songs around ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not, I’m sad to say, a new thing.
It’s something of an impossible task to just pick out five songs that seem to best capture all that’s happening. Indeed, such has been the continued anger of young Americans of all colours about repeated injustices in recent years that even the most basic of on-line searches throws up the best part of 100 new songs, most of them being rap or hip-hop, whose messages are direct, angry, and to the point.
My suggestion for this week’s ‘Music for our Times’ is that you go online – you honestly won’t have to dig too deep. A small word of warning for the easily offended – the ‘f’ word is a frequent occurrence.
I don’t think I’m being controversial by suggesting Donald Trump hasn’t helped things. A man who would, as the cliche goes, start a fight in an empty house. There’s plenty of songs that have been written in recent years that are critical of him and his actions and I’m thinking a few more are being penned right now. The first three on this week’s list, however, are from years back and aren’t about him, but the titles fit the bill. The final two are recent efforts:-
American Idiot – Green Day
The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum – Fun Boy Three
You’ve No Clue Do You – King Creosote
Demagogue – Franz Ferdinand
FDT – YG and Nipsey Hustle
The fifth song? DT are the initials of the president. You can guess what the F stands for.
I’ll leave you this week with some lyrics written by Prince, a native of Minneapolis on whose streets George Floyd was horrifically murdered. They are taken from the song ‘Baltimore’ which he wrote in 2015 as his response to the unrest in that city over the police custody death of Freddie Gray.
‘If there ain’t no justice, then there ain’t no peace.’
Five years on, and his words have never rung more true.”
mp3 : Prince – Baltimore
PS: Here’s a link should you want to download the entire bulletin. Click here
PPS: One of my earlier offerings to the Rovers Bulletin formed part of a guest posting that I was involved in earlier this week.
I’m hoping most of you will have seen it already, but if not, please click here and you’ll be taken to the magical world of Rol’s Top Tens, and in particular, last Thursday.