I could’ve gone with a few themes for playlists this month. I did Corruption last month, which feels equally if not more prominent this month. Transphobia is rife again with JK Rowling’s latest book and the bullshit of gender reveal parties. But in the end I thought a prevailing theme this month, and indeed year, and tbh decade of Tory bullshit – is the disenfranchisement of youth.
As someone who grew up in the 2000s and early 2010s, the Clegg-Cameron coalition happened right in the heart of my political awakening. This government of course raised tuition fees to an extortionate amount, when they were already not the cheapest thing in the world. In 2016 the Brexit referendum narrowly went in favour of leave. Five years later that’s effectively a whole generation of people who were not heard during the referendum reaping the consequences – while a large group of people who did vote in the referendum will have passed away by now, and will not be affected by the damages it will cause.
A politician comes along who does more to engage youth voices and needs into his manifesto than any politician has in this country for maybe ever – and he is smeared and sabotaged by his own party to be replaced by this generation’s Blair.
Now – after months of lockdown, then being told to get back to work, get back to school – disproportionately working the retail and service jobs that leave them at highest exposure to COVID – the government, the same government who ran the “Eat out to help out” scheme to get people piling into restaurants – are now blaming these young people for the new spike.
Don’t get me wrong – there are people who are being reckless and not following the best health practices, so there needs to be some personal accountability also. But the government’s constant U-turns, mixed messaging, and refusal to listen to the experts (where have I heard that one before?) is the core and trigger cause of everything which has gone wrong over this pandemic in the country.
How dare they put this onto young people?
So, with that in mind – here’s my playlist that I feel encapsulates the feeling of youth frustration at the situation they have been forced into, and the political isolation they find themselves in.
I’m 25 now, so I don’t know whether I still count as the youth or not. There may be a disconnect between myself and Gen-Z young adults in terms of what music fully encapsulates this feeling of youth disenfranchisement. I tried to be as broad as possible with my choices, so here we go:
“Politicians talk it up,
About their love, for the USA’s youth
But when it comes time to put up,
Their rhetoric falls back on every excuse”
Starting off with a solid familiar band – Anti-Flag’s Angry, Young and Poor. I mean the title alone is perfect for this theme, so that’s why it’s number one on this playlist.
“‘Cause we don’t, don’t give a fuck and
We won’t ever give a fuck until you
You give a fuck about me
And my generation”
Ah Limp Bizkit – not exactly the first band you associate with a socialist feminist comedy club. But honestly they’re just fun to listen to. And this song is pure cringe but my god, it fits the theme.
Admittedly this is very much Gen-X’s version of this concept, so it’s ridiculously out of date, yet still timeless because it doesn’t really say anything. Still, it captures the mood perfectly, and definitely a good fit for the theme.
“The more that you fear us the bigger we get
And don’t be suprised, don’t be surprised
Don’t be suprised when we destroy all of it”
Again, Manson’s not the greatest of advocates for our ethos. At least I’d assume not anyway – he is the definition of every edgy white boy that I want nothing to do with. But one thing that can be said, certainly for his prime era is that he very much was a voice of rebellious youth in the late 90s/early 2000s. And this song I think is a perfect encapsulation of that impact.
“We will not forget….the promises you didn’t keep”
I couldn’t actually find the lyrics for this song – but the lyrics I can pinpoint are spectacular. First of all, this was published to YouTube a mere 4 days after the 2010 general election, and my god is it a trip to go back to knowing all the things the Tories would go on to do. And now. Genuinely makes me cry a little bit.
But these people, and future generations won’t forget. And while it seems hopeless right now – every year we’re getting more and more voters who have had futures ruined and their lives stamped on by the government.
And they won’t forget.
“If you feel so filthy
So dirty, so fucked up
If you feel so walked on
So painful, so pissed off
You’re not the only one
Refusing to go down
You’re not the only one
So get up
Let’s start a riot,”
Not specifically related to youth, but the lyrics are very relevant to the recent experiences of the youth under the Tory government. And this is just a banging protest and riot song, so fuck you it’s staying.
“I saw the world go up in flames
And I just smiled and stood there, watching
And it doesn’t seem like this is real
That’s just the way I feel
I don’t know why”
I don’t really know what this song is saying, but it sounds cool, so eat my cunt.
“The children, don’t you know why?
Obedience goes without question
The children, seen and not heard
Will not be silent forever
‘Cause we are, we are the children”
I must apologize to Spotify listeners, as this song apparently does not exist.
Coming from the early days of Halestorm, long before they had much traction, this hidden gem is a fairly low-fi and grungy anthem dedicated to, you guessed it, the children!
I adore this track and it often features on my playlists – it’s not the most catchy of tunes, and it does drag on a bit, but featuring manifesto-like lyrics of a generation that’s expected to be silent and put up with what they’re being told to do without any autonomy, it’s really nice to lose yourself in and build you up to fight for your rights and voices to be heard.
“Under the toxic sunsets they dine and toast
Their walls deny the terror faced by the children
Born As Ghosts”
A little bit more energy in this one. Whilst RATM appear on pretty much every one of these playlists, I don’t think I’ve used this particular song before.
What more can I say really – it’s classic Rage. Simple yet powerful lyrics and riffs – Rage have a knack for reducing concepts to their very core components and illustrating them with a very minimalist but catchy approach. All guitar solos are more than solos. The sounds that Morello makes during his time in the spotlight manage to be catchy as well as artistically fitting with the theme – going so far to even sound a bit like typical ghost noises in this song. These aren’t just musical notes, it’s melodic poetry. (Arguably that’s all songs by definition, but shh.)
This song is all about the gap between classes and how children of the working classes are essentially doomed from birth, completely hidden away from the upper classes, and only there as a constant threat to the lower middle classes of what could happen to them if they fuck up or refuse to participate in the system of western capitalism.
“Corrupt system cripples youth
Fake propaganda while they hide the truth”
Haven’t seen this one since ACAB back in June! Short and sweet brutal metallic hardcore about systematic oppression. I won’t even bother taking a deep dive into the lyrics as they’re hardly coherent – but I always like throwing some good ol’ angry hardcore in to really get blood pumping before the show.
“Your ambition has been disrupted
Young minds so easily corrupted
The system is fighting itself
A fatal blow shall be dealt”
I can’t remember if I’ve included any Anacrusis before, but they are one of my all time favourite bands that few people have ever heard of. A thrash band who were around in between the peaks of the genre’s popularity – and one of the few smaller bands I feel who actually did anything a little bit different and interesting.
Their lyrics aren’t always the easiest to digest, and the overall theme of this song isn’t specifically about youth. But it is about a corrupt system which young people are at highest risks of – and moreover about the failing system that needs minimal interference to break.
Capitalism as we know it has been shaken to the fucking core by this pandemic, and if we keep up the fight, we might genuinely have a chance of legitimate reform. We might not – but I for one am not going to stop fighting. Capitalism is unsustainable, and I do think it will destroy itself without help before too long.
But don’t be complacent, it can do a heck of a lot of damage on its way out. We need to keep fighting, and looking after each other. Human life is more important than the economy and the wealth of the 1%.
“It it so, Dad? I’m not supposed to
Make the world anew, and be like you? Am I you?”
Okay this one is just pure cheese, and probably appeals to nobody. Only like 7 people in the world like Power Metal, 6 of them like Sonata Arctica, and 0 of them like the album that this song is from.
But despite how cheesy it is, this song honestly makes me happy. 90% chorus which is both catchy and incredibly annoying – this song is sung from the perspective of a child (whaaa?). As with all good lyrics, they’re vague enough to be applicable to most people, but also tells a specific story – in this case I feel about an abused child, who wants to grow up to be someone good and just like other kids.
While not strictly a metaphor for oppression of youth, you don’t have to jump through many hopes to interpret it from that direction. And when you do, this is a nice up-beat and uplifting song which might just give you the willpower to carry on!
Or at least to get up and skip this song, either is good.
“All together, walk alone against all we’ve ever known
All we’ve ever really wanted was a place to call our home
But you take all we are, the innocence of our hearts
Made to kneel before the altar as you tear us apart”
So a couple of shows ago I commented on a Disturbed song saying soon the kids who grew up on Nu Metal will be the old dad elitists going “Back in my day music meant something, none of this (insert example of contemporary pop band) we had real music like Disturbed and Limp Bizkit”. And when looking up this song on youtube, I noticed this comment going: “Ah, back when music was good”
THIS WAS 2009 WTF, I REMEMBER GETTING INTO HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD AROUND THIS TIME AND IT WAS THE CRINGIEST SHIT EVER, WHY HAVE THESE PEOPLE OF ALL MUSIC ARTISTS AROUND THIS TIME BECOME THE FLAGSHIP FOR GOOD OLD MUSIC?
But I digress. HU are an incredibly cringey and weird band with virtually no original ideas of their own – being an amalgamation of all the worst parts of Slipknot, Linkin Park, Papa Roach and Limp Bizkit. That being said, they are mostly fun to listen to, and this song actually has a lot of heart to it.
This is a youth anthem, with some pretty intense lyrics about growing up in a broken world where it seems like the whole world is against you (and to be fair…)
So despite the fact that the main riff is that riff from Last Resort but on piano (which I think Papa Roach also allegedly stole or copied from Iron Maiden or someone, idk, who cares), they have actually nailed the feeling of disenfranchised youth and a kids’ rebellion anthem here, so there is no way I wasn’t including this on this list.
“They’re gonna clean up your looks with all the lies in the books
To make a citizen out of you
Because they sleep with a gun and keep an eye on you, son
So they can watch all the things you do”
My Chemical Romance are honestly timeless. This song is 13 years old, and still every new generation of teenagers has a large group who connect with them as a band.
While it’s easy to dismiss them as a scene/emo band, they actually in all honesty are the closest thing to this generation’s Queen. The theatricality is there – genre diversity, incredible vocal performances and real showmen. I’m genuinely sad we didn’t get to hear more from them. And I feel sorry for anyone who refuses to like them because they were pretty boys and popular with the girls that didn’t want to fuck them in high school.
This song is an interesting one, it is both on the level of Gerard reflecting on the unfair treatment he received as a teenager, and a self-aware satire of how anxious he found himself around large groups of teenagers now he no longer was one. Whatever way you look at this, this is a great youthful rebellion song.
“As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
‘Til the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be”
I’ll be honest, this is the first time I’d heard this song, and immediately fell in love. Think what you will about the Beatles and Lennon – I’m personally not the biggest fan, but this song is fucking powerful. Why do people harp on about Imagine? This is much better.
Again, not specifically about youth – but that first line “As soon as you’re born they make you feel small, by giving you no time instead of it all”, well, if that doesn’t sum up the youth condition and experience I don’t know what does.
And decades later, this still rings true. The youth have no voice. They have no representation. Just adults who claim to be voting and working in the children’s best interests. This is of course prone to many problems, and always leaves the youth fucked over.
I don’t think I necessarily would’ve been ready to vote before I was 18, but I know plenty of people younger than me with a much keener and clearer knowledge of politics. To be frank I was probably over 20 before I really had my political awakening.
But I grew up middle class, I never had any problems growing up. I never went hungry, I never had pressure to be useful in order to survive. A 23-year-old posh boy has experienced significantly fewer hardships than a 13-year-old working class kid. But only one of them gets to vote.
I lost my train of thought, but this song is good, and Tories are bad, next.
“Somethin’ struck me funny when we ran out of money
Where do you go now when you’re only 15?
With the music execution and the talk of revolution
It bleeds in me and it goes
Give ’em the boot the roots the radicals
Give ’em the boot you know I’m a radical”
I was running out of ideas at this point. And this song is catchy as all hell, and talks about radicals and only being 15. So that’s the extent of why this song is here, next.
I can’t find the lyrics for this one, but the song’s called Youth – and Faintest Idea are a regular band for us, so I’m fairly sure it’s relevant. If not I do apologize for making you listen to irrelevant Ska-Punk.
Editor’s not: I am not sorry Jonny made you listen to irrelevant Ska-Punk. Here have some more.
“Even if you’re little you can do a lot, you
Mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you
If you sit around and let them get on top you
You might as well be saying you think that it’s okay
And that’s not right”
I love Matilda. I love the book, I love the film adaptation with Mara Wilson (hero) and I adore the musical adaptation by Tim Minchin. All very different versions of the same core story – but I particularly like the commentary in the musical version. The songs genuinely move me more than pretty much anything else I’ve seen, except for maybe Blood Brothers.
Naughty is a solo song by Matilda herself, and the core message is about having the power to dictate your own story, and the importance of standing up for what’s right. Making the equivalence of ignoring the issues to agreeing with them. Which in a world where the far right is rising rapidly is extremely relevant. If you’re not fighting for the marginalised people, you’re fighting against them. Doing nothing is complacency, and you are complicit in the oppression.
This is an incredible song, especially powerful in the voice of a child.
“The only victim is the child
And oh, who’s gonna be my Martin Luther King?
And I’ll say, who’s gonna be my Harvey Milk?
And on the steps of parliament, they’re demonstrating
But what’s the use when they’re all cut from the same Eton silk?”
Possibly a bit of a stretch, but I’ve wanted an excuse to use a Grace Petrie song for a while. As the title suggests this is a song about austerity and the gradual stripping away of welfare and rights of the working classes – and in particular how much it will impact the future generations who did not get a chance to vote for this.
Great song, and Grace is wonderful.
“Pushing little children, with their fully automatics, they like to push the weak around”
This is the perfect protest song. More relevant to America than us – but the principal is very much the same across the board. It’s just because we have tighter gun legislation here that we’re that little bit safer; the attitude towards protestors is the same across the forces.
“Call me snowflake, and you’ll face the avalanche”
This is the unofficial Blizzard Comedy theme song just for that one line tbh. While it doesn’t specifically reference young people, the snowflake rhetoric goes hand in hand with boomers whining about “millennials” by which they usually mean “kids today” despite the fact that most millennials are in or approaching their 30s now. Also I don’t think I’ve included this song yet. It broadly fits with our ethos, but we’ve yet to have a theme that it specifically fits with, so it’s about time it was included.
“On your knees people
Pledge allegiance to the evil
Everything changed yet nothing’s changed
Bold is change, everything looking strange, yeah
Engineers got millennials living in fear
Give a damn, evil can’t stand yeah
When the people take a stand
Unfuck the world!”
Yet another double bill of RATM & POR – This time we’re going with Unfuck the world. I think I used them before, can’t remember. Either way, this song is a great end to the playlist. It basically encapsulates everything I could ever want to say in less than 5 minutes. And ultimately that’s all our goals – to unfuck the world.
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