Protest Songs? Here Are Some Songs for the Rest of Us

Protest Songs?  Here Are Some Songs for the Rest of Us
Doesn't this look annoying? (Tribune photo)

Hey, did you know the NATO conference is Sunday and Monday in Chicago?  I wanted to let you know in case you hadn’t heard.  Getting even more attention than the weighty worldly matters that are actually being discussed at the conference are the throngs of protesters. 

The Occupy Chicago movement doesn’t really seem to have taken hold as much as it has in some other cities.  For months now, there have been about five lonely, sometimes cold protesters across the street from the building I work in.  I’m sure they’re thrilled that all of their activist brethren have arrived from wherever their real lives are to join in the fun, and the media has played right into their hands.  Coverage about the protesters is everywhere, but do you know who isn’t getting enough coverage?  The people who still have to go to work during these protests.

My office was closed this past Thursday and Friday and this coming Monday but for a skeletal staff to make sure things continue running, I guess.  I got to work at home Thursday and Friday but have to go into the office Monday.  I’m still trying to figure out if that means I’m “critical staff” or “completely expendable.”  Either way, it’s going to be a pain.

First of all, we’re supposed to “dress down”- NATO casual, if you will.  That’s fine, I don’t mind being comfy while I work, but will I really blend with the protesters while I’m carrying my laptop to work?  I can’t take my backpack on the train (in case I’m trying to hide a bomb in it), and I can’t have a bag larger than 15 x 15”.  And I can’t take any food on the train, which means I’ll have to buy my lunch downtown.  That will equate to more calories than allotted on my diet since I don’t believe the cafeteria in my building offers anything not fried in oil or filled with lard, and we’re discouraged from leaving the building, which practically makes us hostages. 

And don’t forget about the myriad of emails we’ve received reminding us to “be safe.”  Why, will the protesters attack the workers?  I’ll let you know. 

As you can see, this all adds up to loads of inconvenience.  I know there are lots of protest songs, but what about the protest victims?  I perused my iTunes library for some songs that might express my feelings while I navigate the protesters on Monday.  These song titles say it best, equal parts anger and self pity:

• Blue Flannel – “Having a Bad Day”  I’m assuming that will be my sentiment anyway.

• The Boomtown Rats – “I Don’t Like Mondays”  And I really don’t like NATO Mondays.

• Bruce Springsteen – “Let’s Be Friends”  In the event I’m feeling charitable at the beginning of the day.

• Dave Matthews Band – “Don’t Drink the Water”  This is precautionary; never know what those protesters might slip in your beverage.

• Death Cab for Cutie – “You Are a Tourist”  You are not from Chicago.  Please go to Navy Pier like all the other foreigners.

• Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence”  While I’m doing my work at least.

• Dire Straits – “On Every Street”  I’m picturing the protesters everywhere.  Is that an exaggeration? How many are there really?

• Elvis Costello – “All These Strangers”  I should tell my employers I’m a xenophobe and maybe they’ll let me work from home again. 

• Eric Clapton – “Just Like a Prisoner”  While I’m in the office, unable to go to the post office at lunch or even CVS in the building next door.

• Hey Monday – “Run, Don’t Walk”  Protesters are in no hurry, I’ve definitely noticed that.  I don’t think it would kill them to pick up the pace a little. No reason a protest needs to last all day.

• James Taylor – “Traffic Jam”  One of the protesters’ favorite tactics is impeding traffic

• Janelle Monáe – “Locked Inside”  Another nod to my workday imprisonment.

• John Mellencamp – “No One Cares About Me”  As I politely remind my kids regularly, it’s all about me.  It bothers me that the protesters are getting all the attention.

• Phish – “Bouncing Around the Room”  More aptly, bouncing round the cubicle by about mid-afternoon when I’m going stir crazy.

 The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”  I’m assuming the protesters are going to forgo their usual hygiene and might smell bad.  I don’t want to smell them.

• Snoop Dogg – “Get the Funk Out of My Face”  If anyone tries to mess with me, this is what I’m going to say.

• Raphael Saadiq – “Go to Hell”  I’ll only pull this out if things really get out of hand.

• Sharon Jones & the Dapp Kings – “Window Shopping”  Even though I’ve read that some merchants are removing their displays, I’d like to encourage the protesters to go window shopping rather than window smashing.

• Fiona Apple – “Oh Well”  *sigh*

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    Number one song for protests is In the flash - Pink Floyd
    More good songs are here

  • Very nice list. If you're looking for something not so main stream, check out The Garko Factor

    "my songs have two natural target audiences - new age spiritual types and occupy movement sympathizers thematically (lyrics). a couple of songs are good for meditation and a couple of them are good angry activism type protest songs."

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    Over the last few years I came across one thing after another witch made me think; “How could this be possible”, “How on earth could people be so evil, so inhuman?” Once you think you know it all there’s a new discovery that’s so obvious seeing the facts and details. I find it strange now a day being called a conspiracy thinker. Don’t the others investigate? Are they perceptual blind? I don’t get it!

    Whatever others think, not ready to see and discover, simply can’t believe? I decided to take action and wrote this protest song; “Hope Comes In The Dark’. Recording it with top musicians to give it away. Because?

    Because I, … want to live in a better world. Because I know so many nice people that want the same. Eating real unprocessed healthy foods, enjoying life, being rewarded for they’re work and living in a peaceful world.

    One after the other government, calling themselves ‘leaders’ didn’t manage to create such a peaceful world. Isn’t it time to unite, stand together and tell them to leave the stage?

    Are you with me?

    It all started beginning this year in the Middle East. Now protests are going on in many countries in Europe, America and the rest of the world. Are we going to see the transition, the baldly needed change?

    Download the song and start discovering.

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