6 political rock groups for the soundtrack of our collective anger

“Superstition taking us all for a ride, minds overwhelmed by the signs of the right.”

On “Tentative”, Serj Tankian of System of a Down lets out his paranoia and his vitriol but remains consumed by despair. “No one is going to save us now,” he bellowes over wavering guitars. Although written in 2005, the vexation of “Tentative” seems too relevant in 2020. As we take to the streets to protest racial injustice or on social media to coerce voters to participate or educate cousins conservatives on the reality of climate change, efforts often feel like we’re crying into a vacuum.


“I woke up with a message of love, choking on smoke from above,” sings Billie Joe Armstrong in Green Day’s “Father of All…”. can combine these frustrations into a song that can be life affirming.

With 3 weeks to go to the most contested election of our lives, here are a few bands that can serve as soundtracks to pump the blood of our collective energy and despair.

system of a Down

System of a Down are one of the greatest political rock groups of all time, and their themes have historically leaned to the left. But watching the internal political drama between lead singer Serj Tankian and drummer John Dolyman has been disheartening. The latter denounced the summer’s “Defund the Police” movement as “the dumbest thing [he’s] heard, “while Tankian’s far-left ideologies have often called on rioters to” overthrow the Trump regime. ”

The ferocity of their online grievances resulted in an abandoned SOAD reunion, but the band’s discography is chock-full of political anthems such as “Attack”, “Hypnotize” and of course their iconic “Chop Suey!”

Stand up against

The Chicago punk group has remained rooted in political themes since the quartet’s birth in 1999. Apart from their music, they have been outspoken in their advocacy for progressivism and have supported several organizations such as Amnesty International and PETA.

Die-hard vegetarians have continually raged against racism, misogyny, voter suppression and anti-immigration beliefs. Although at times melodic, most of the band’s vast discography is made up of big metal guitars, “whoa-oh!” haunting choruses and lyrics like, “If strength comes from sorrow, then mountains I could move.”

The band’s political themes have come close to cliché at times when translated into song, but the band’s exuberant political acumen and catchy punk sensibility is best exemplified on their 2006 album, The victim and the witness, with songs like “Injection” and “Under The Knife” punchy and well balanced.

Anti flag

Another 2000s punk band that wears their political affiliation on their sleeve, Anti-Flag has regularly criticized the powers that be in their catchy punk tunes. Their latest album, Vision 20/20, features loud and relatable tracks like “Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down” and “You Make Me Sick”. Anti-Flag’s far-left intentions have always been clear, 20/20 even features Trump on the cover with crossed X’s over his eyes.

The gritty punk group has always identified themselves as an “anti-capitalist” rock band, a position that has sparked both conservative and moderate anger over the years. But even avid fans suddenly turned to the band after announcing their signing to major label RCA Records. They were criticized as being sold out, but the band defended their signing, saying using a major label could spread their message to more people. Either way, the band’s music has remained brutal and deep left.

Bikini kill

Pioneer band Riot grrrl doesn’t need to be introduced, but their bubbling, frustrated energy and radical feminist ideology still spill blood in 2020. The punk quartet recently reunited for a well-deserved tour, and them feelings about Trumpian politics of 2020 are easily reflected in the band song “Liar” from 1991: “You are a liar, liar, liar, you set your pants on fire / liar, liar hanged by the telephone wire, you know, you’re a fucking liar, fucking liar. ”

Trash talk

The hardcore punk band recently made history as the first non-rap group to sign on to Odd Future records, and their thumping bass and blood-curdling screams have a relentless unleashed energy without being directly Politics. Kenny Beats 2020 produced Dire misery was a brief but captivating EP that choked the lives of listeners. “I have no idea how to cope, what to do,” screams Lee Spielman with deep anguish.

Pussy riot

The Russian feminist punk rock group has made their entire career criticizing and confronting the man. The Moscow-based group of 11 have often put on provocative guerrilla performances in public spaces in Russia and have spoken about everything from LGBTQ + rights to racism and what they believe to be Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial policies.

They were deemed sacrilegious by several Christian organizations and gained international notoriety when five members put on an obscene spectacle inside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow in 2012. Three of the members were arrested on charges of “hooliganism. », Then sentenced to two years in prison. jail.

Regardless, the shameless rock band continued to make super punk music, and Nadya Tolokonnikova even released a guide on how to fight a Trumpian diet, which we could all use right now.

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