Contributed by Blizzard host and founder, Jonny Collins.
One of my favourite things about preparing for Blizzard is curating the pre-show and interval playlists with some of my favourite Punk, Metal and Rap of all time. From goliath household names like Dead Kennedy’s, Rage Against The Machine, System Of A Down and Public Enemy – to local and small DIY bands who deserve more notoriety than they possess, such as Faintest Idea and The Human Project.
The playlists are more than just songs to get pumped to before a show, however. Since the 3rd or 4th show, I have aimed to curate playlists which are particularly pertinent to the current political climate. Some are obvious, others a bit more subtle and down to interpretation. But each track is carefully chosen to highlight current issues and inspire both audiences and acts to keep up the fight against oppression and Tory rule.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed – but things aren’t getting better.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how little the Tory government care about human life if it gets in the way of their own profits and networks. Meanwhile Trump has declared being against fascism an act of terrorism, police continue to commit war crimes against the people they are apparently there to protect, and all of this while working class families are being forced back into an unsafe work environment or starve to death due to no governmental support.
Music is an important tool in a revolution – as is comedy. Digestible ways to spread messages of protest and inspire unity amongst the oppressed. Art is key to self-identity and protest. That is why, to coincide with our livestream deconstruction of the month’s news, I am creating a public playlist in place of what we’d have at our old live shows for those of you who miss and relate to our brand of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack revolution!
This month’s theme is of course ACAB – after the disgusting ways the Police have been acting since conception, highlighted by their abuse of BLM protestors extending to use of illegal weaponry and a brutal use of excessive force to combat people literally protesting for their lives.
Fuck the police. Black Lives Matter. The only good fascist is a dead one.
“Turn on the TV what’s this?
Another cop busted for illegal business
They outta control they outta their mind”
Opening the playlist with a classic. This is actually a track I wasn’t too familiar with when compiling this playlist, however when putting a call out for recommendations on social media this one very rightfully got name dropped a few times.
This track covers racial profiling and police being quick to violence on unfounded suspicions based entirely on the appearance of their innocent victims. What’s especially harrowing is that this track was released in 2001 – the NWA track of the same name was released in 1988. Racial profiling and police brutality has been happening a lot longer than that, and still in 2020 it’s just as prevalent as always.
White people such as myself have been wilfully ignorant of this for a long time. There are very understandable worries that once the momentum from the current BLM protests die down, we will go back to being ignorant of issues that don’t affect us directly. We cannot let this happen.
Listen to black people, black artists, comedians, musicians, writers, and continue fight against racist police states. Fuck the police.
“…And in the eyes of the law
Black skin has always stood for poor”
I have a rule that I only allow one song per artist on my playlists – which is a damn shame because Body Count have about 5 that I wanted to include. Cop Killer and Point The Finger were very close contenders – but in the end I went for “No Lives Matter”.
Despite sounding like the kind of thing an edgy white deathcore band would say to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement – Body Count instead make a very powerful point about the links between systematic racism and classism. It is fair to say that a working-class white person definitely has privilege over a working-class black person – however the white working classes have more in common with black working classes than they do the rich.
This isn’t to say that police brutality isn’t a racially motivated crime – because it inarguably is, however, black skin is intertwined with being poor and a ‘lesser’ class of human. The advantage white people have in general is that their skin colour doesn’t carry that same stereotype – but make no mistake the police don’t give a fuck about you either.
This is a system that is systematically designed to protect the rich and to keep the poor in line and obeying those ‘superior’ to them. They couldn’t give a fuck if we all died tomorrow – and both Trump and Johnson’s behaviour over COVID punctuates this point nicely. In the words of Ice T, “They can’t fuck us up once they realize we’re all on the same side.”
Do not give into racist propaganda, the right fuel these bigotries because they know if they can keep us all fighting amongst ourselves, they have nothing to fear from us. No more, make them fear us.
“The constant threat of a shot to the chest
But defending yourself is resisting arrest
City streets that I called my home
Are starting to look like a combat zone”
Regulars of Blizzard Comedy will be familiar with this one – it is a staple of many of our shows due to its fairly universal themes of riot and civil uprisings. But this month it is more relevant than ever as it is specifically about police brutality and control. Lyrically, a very basic song, but with heavy thrash riffs and purposeful and aggressive lines this is a perfect song to start a revolution from.
“The left newspapers might whine a bit
But the guys at the station, they don’t give a shit”
Remember when I said my playlists were like a socialist Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack? Well, fans of the series will be very familiar with this one!
Police Truck is a graphic satire on police culture, harassment and violence. Relating to a specific incident of police brutality in the ’70s where sex workers were sexually assaulted by police – this song also is an excellent ACAB anthem in its own right. I can’t think of another band quite like the Dead Kennedys who can do this kind of song justice with their very aggressive style of non-apologetically satirical punk.
“You better wake up and smell the real flavour
Cause 911 is a fake life saver”
Slight tonal shift here. Actually quite a tame ACAB song from Public Enemy here, focusing more on police neglect of poor black communities as opposed to outright assault and violence. Although, it really highlights how bad the issues are when a song about police neglect and incompetence is considered tame.
Public Enemy are a group who often appear on my playlists, and this song is a perfect match for the them. Catchy up beat hip-hop with a very clear and contrasting message.
The police at best don’t care if you die. Even when they’re not murdering innocent people, they’re not doing the protecting job that they’re apparently there to do. I know very few people who have actually been helped by the police – and those few were white.
The best thing you can say about the police is that it’s an inefficient and broken system. But when you look at how bad things really are, it almost makes you wish for an inefficient and broken police system. At least then they’d just be a tax drain, rather than a threat to life.
“No more excuses
We must refuse this
Silence is useless
Long live the innocent”
I’ve really been getting into Fever 333 lately. if you’re a fan of Linkin Park-esque nu metal, or the heavier end of pop-punk I highly recommend these guys. They sound like Hollywood Undead, if Hollywood Undead weren’t garbage people with nothing relevant to say.
This Trap Metal anthem, and indeed the rest of the album is all about the fear black people face with the police on a daily basis. Sing out in support of the innocent victims of police harassment and murder in the USA and beyond. And for the record, even most of the guilty. The death penalty should not be a thing, and if it is, it should be after a fair trial.
The police are law enforcement, they are not executioners, and should not be given that power. Most police officers will face little to no consequences for their actions.
When I worked in a bar, if I didn’t clean out line cleaner from the pumps properly and poisoned a customer. I would have been fired, the bar would’ve been fined, and both myself and the licence holder would face criminal charges and potentially prison time. If your job lets you kill people without repercussion, it is not an ethical job, and should be defunded.
“Feel youth crushed somewhere between concrete and boot
Another victim of the lower hate
You are not my god
You think this is funny, don’t you pig?”
Groove/Death Metal is a bit of a gamble as a genre. You get your Lamb of God’s and your Machine Head’s who are broadly on point and have core punk sensibilities through their music and politics – but then you get your Panteras and Five Finger Death Punches who exist for Republican military fetishists to wank over whilst yelling racial slurs.
This song by Lamb of God (stands for Officer Dick Head Gets A Black Fucking Eye) Is about seeking revenge on cops for suffering brutality at their hands. The lyrics aren’t the most coherent, so you’d be forgiven for not knowing that’s what it’s about. Tut once you do know, the riff and stomping rhythm of this track is a great soundtrack for protest and rebellion.
“You justify those that died
By wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites”
Another Blizzard regular – often used just before the start of the show as it’s a perfect build up song.
It’s amazing that bootlickers and right-wing dickheads are only just now realizing Rage Against The Machine is categorically not for them. Their lyrics are not subtle. I don’t really know what I need to say about this one, the impending build up and repetitive lyrics will get anyone pumped to fight for the oppressed.
All cops are bastards”
Do I need to explain this one? Not the most thematically profound on our playlist, but it’s still pretty satisfying to sing along to. Also, what a great band name.
“Even after I’m dead and buried
I’ll come back fighting, I’ll come back fighting!”
Not specifically ACAB this one – but an epic rebellion song for sure. Peaceful and non-violent protests are a myth. If the cops or those in power don’t like the cause you’re protesting for – it will become violent. Nearly all major breakthroughs in civil rights movements have been the result of at least some level of violence.
I am a pacifist by nature, but even I see this. You cannot fight oppression and murder with peaceful protest. That’s one step away from sitting back and being complicit. “Voices of Violence Will Always Be Heard”. Violence cannot be ignored. And with enough of us fighting for the same cause, change will happen.
“The badge means you suck, a child lays there dead
As you look back, what goes through your head?”
I’m running out of new interesting and profound things to say at this point. Police suck, this song rules. Next.
I can’t find the lyrics to this one, and I don’t want to try and guess because I am notoriously bad at guessing lyrics. For ages I thought Wait and Bleed was “I felt the air rise up in me” and it was about burping.
But yeah, this is a solid hardcore track from a great band. You can get the album digitally here.
“For every copper to serve and protect me
There’s always one like you to fucking contest me”
Local Manchester band these! If you like your ska aggressive and grimy – I highly recommend this band. Can’t think of anyone else who sounds quite like them.
“We can’t afford to be neutral on a moving train”
A song about the reality of being in the middle of police escalated protests.
System of a Down are another one of those bands who the right are suddenly surprised doesn’t like them. (With the exception of the drummer who reckons Trump is the best president for minorities – but this is why drummers don’t get creative input).
I particularly enjoy the moving train line, as it reads like you can’t afford to not take sides. Neutrality is complicity, and as white people it is a privilege that we can claim to be “neutral” in an issue where one side is literally fighting for their lives.
Away from the lyrics as well, this song has a very satisfying beat that mimics the atmosphere of a violent protest pretty spot on. System, like Rage, have a very unique approach to their guitar parts that really provide atmosphere as well as melody – and this song is a perfect example of that.
“I despise your right to take a life
Your disguise it hides your racial pride”
No, not that one. This one stands for AntiChrist DemonCore – which is a terrible band name and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all Nazis. However, this song makes it clear that they are definitely not. A nice short hardcore onslaught of hurling insults at police and bootlickers, with a very strong message that white supremacy and police brutality go hand in hand.
“What the hell are you lookin for?
Can’t a young man make money anymore?
Wear my jewels and like freak it on the floor
Or is it my job to make sure I’m poor?”
I’d never really listened much to LL Cool J – I don’t know why. I always kind of assumed he was a much tamer rapper than he is, more pop friendly. But after actually listening to him, it’s clear I was painfully misinformed. His freestyle after the murder of George Floyd genuinely made me tear up. He is an incredible rapper.
This song highlights the association between Black people and poverty in the eyes of police. A part of white privilege is that if you are rich you are perceived to have earned that legally and respectably, regardless of how you actually earned it. Black people with money, however, are immediately assumed to have been involved in some kind of criminal activity to make that money, namely drugs or theft.
The police are there to protect the rich from the poor – so a rich black man must be a threat to the rich white men who earned their money legitimately? Racial profiling is intrinsically linked to a phobia of the working class – and a systematic connection between the two. The only reason white working classes aren’t hounded quite as much as the black working class is because the skin colour is a form of status, and it is easier to be ignored.
“But the cops can do no wrong
They can kill, they can rape
They can do what they want”
Anti-Flag are a band who I really should’ve got into sooner but just never did. This song isn’t the most original ACAB song, following in the same vein as the Dead Kennedys thematically, but without the same subversion – and with a song that teases saying fuck the police but then doesn’t quite.
Still, it’s a thematically very appropriate song, and highlights all the issues that have been mentioned above.
“Middle finger to them
Our way to salute you
Abuse your power
You are the real enemy”
25 Ta Life are one of those bands who are objectively bad, but I really enjoy. To me they were my entry point into the New York Hardcore scene, being quite easy to get into as someone already into metalcore and death metal (and also featuring on the soundtrack of Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 – one of my favourite games at the time).
This is another ACAB song that’s a bit less tongue-in-cheek and more genitals-and-other-genitals (I’m just trying to think of more creative ways to say fuck the police that I haven’t done already, leave me alone.) Nothing much else to say here, ACAB. What a wonderful Phrase. ACAB, ain’t no passin’ craze.
Another song I don’t have the exact lyrics to – but the sampled line “Who’s the real rioters, who’s the real looters in this country? The fucking Tories” is just a perfect message – and the rest of the song might not be the most relevant – but that sample line itself is excellent.
Also, I love Faintest Idea, they appear on most of our playlists, either this song, Circling the Drain or Mutual Aid. They are an excellent socialist Ska punk band and deserve all your love. LOVE THEM NOW.
“Refuse to become another target, another victim
Refuse to be labelled another thug or animal”
I found this band on a list of Black fronted bands – and this song pulls no punches. Like a lot of punk, there are very few lyrics, but every single one is full of purpose and drive. A perfect Hardcore song.
“This fucking city
Is run by pigs
They take the rights away
From all the kids”
I don’t have a lot to say about this one really – but it’s on most all ACAB/Fuck the Police playlists out there, so I felt like I should include it. Doesn’t really say anything the others haven’t already – but backs them all up beautifully.
“Mr. Police officer
We’re not doing nothing wrong
Take your damn hands off of us
Or we’re not gonna get along”
Bit of a break from the onslaught of heavy riffs and hardcore songs with this no less authentic and pertinent pop-punk song from Whole Wheat Bread. While the tone is generally more cheerful and upbeat, the message is the same. Someone please let David Cameron loose in the police station. (Fuck the Pigs. Might’ve been funny 5 years ago.)
“He’s a Cunt He’s A Cunt He’s A Constable”
Fairly self-explanatory. This puts Anti-Flag’s “Fuck Police, Fuck Police, Fuck Police Brutality” to shame. I defy you to find a catchier ACAB song than this.
I think the band name say it all to be honest.
Because there’s strength in numbers”
Possibly cheating my one per artist rule – as this is almost Rage Against the Machine, but not quite, so fuck you. Anyway – Strength in Numbers is a great protest song that carries on the theme from “No Lives Matter” that unity and working together is the key to overthrowing oppressors. Not in that bullshit centrist notion of “Agree to disagree” and “Both sides are equally valid”. But in the sense that if the oppressed groups of the nation overcome the divides between them perpetuated by rich propaganda to split up their opposition – we would be a force to be reckoned with, and might actually bring about some kind of social change. Maybe it’s a fantasy – but it is important hope.
There is strength in numbers, and we’re only getting stronger by the day.
So, there’s my ACAB playlist for Blizzard Comedy’s Broadcast Avalanche on the 29th June! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.
Give it a listen here on our Spotify to discover new artists and get pumped for the revolution.