Music with a Message
“The times, they are a changing”. One of the most influential songs of change which has continuously shaped people’s view of society. The song has truly stood the test of time, arguably for its message. Dylan wrote it in the early 1960’s as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for that moment in time. It was a song with a purpose. Something that people wanted and needed to hear. Dylan combined the folk protest movement with the Civil Rights Movement and released the epic “The Times, They Are A-Changin’”. Even if his beliefs went against the grain, Dylan did not waver. Despite feeling uncomfortable as a white man standing for the Civil Rights Movement, he made himself a public image at the March of Washington. Dylan is not alone in using music as a medium for expressing his beliefs. Artists often use their songs to deliver meaningful messages to their audience. Music can be used to express various messages. For instance, patriotic songs, such as the national anthem, try to convey pro-establishment messages. In contrast, anti-establishment songs can promote ideas against current norms. This is seen across genres as evidenced by “Fuck the Police” by NWA, “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine, “Crying Shame” by Jack Johnson, and “Get Up-Stand Up” by Bob Marley.
2016 has been a very eventful year. Between the presidential election, the Orlando shooting, Brexit, and the Black Lives Matter movement, artists have plenty of material to incorporate political messages into their songs, and they should. As evidenced in previous blog posts, I feel that indie musicians are some of the last story tellers. Similarly, I feel that indie artists will rise to the occasion and write about the issues that matter to them. Due to the events occurring around the world today, I would expect more political messages to appear in music. You can tell by the protests occurring, people are passionate about the issues and changes facing our country and the world alike. This is similar to the passionate protests that Dylan saw so many years ago. Regardless of your political orientation, everyone has a voice. Learn from Dylan and other artists and don't be afraid to stand for what you believe in.