8 tracks ► songs for election day


►  Rock the vote. I usually hate when music artists tackle really specific political events in their songs. I especially hate it when they use their concerts as stumping platforms.

I know, I know–musicians (and other famous people) using their power and position for (what they think is) the good of the public.

Yada yada yada.

That sort of thing leaves me agreeing with something my college friend said after attending a concert by a (very famous) band that spent more time talking than making music: The best part of this concert was the taco I ate before coming.

That said, this playlist is not intended to promote any particular political view (it certainly doesn’t reflect mine). And it does not include all of the standard protest songs (or Dylan’s entire canon). It is just designed to pump you up for the polls with some good-time rock-n-roll.

►  A countdown:

8  •  War • Edwin Starr   ►   Pretty sure a song that mentions killing and the undertaker should not make people want to break it down on the dance floor, but, hey, chalk it up to another one of the inexplicable mysteries of war. And then the live cover by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band may just make people want to take to the streets.

7  •  For What It’s Worth • Buffalo Springfield   ►   Stop. Hey, what’s that sound? Paranoia strikes deep.

6  • Signs • Five Man Electrical Band   ►   Everywhere a sign. Honestly.

5  •  The General • Dispatch   ►   While not a perfect comparison, this song always reminds me of The Charge of the Light Brigade, which, you know, is political. Just not in this century. Or last century. Or in this country. Or on this continent. What can I say? Once an English teacher, always a nerd.

4  •  Mercy Mercy Me • Marvin Gaye   ►   A smooth jam for these hard times.

3  •  All Along the Watchtower • Jimi Hendrix   ►   For all the doomsdayers out there.
OR The Star-Spangled Banner • Jimi Hendrix   ►   For those who are more eschatologically reserved.

2  •  Jammin’ Me • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers   ►   Let me up (I’ve had enough).

1  •  Fortunate Son • Creedence Clearwater Revival   ►   CCR may not have inherited star-spangled eyes nor been born with a silver spoon in hand, but this song does inspire a bit of flag-waving in spite of itself. 

►   Bonus Track  »  Stuck in the Middle with You • Stealers Wheel   ►   Trying to make some sense it all. My sentiments exactly. Or to put it another way: More cowbell. 

graphicstext © 2016 hilary hall
photograph courtesy of the U.S. Army

►  Add to the Mix  »  Your spin  • 

Which song would you choose to rock the vote?   ►  Leave your pick in the comment box. Thanks! 

[ your pick could hit the chart on a reader’s choice playlist… ]

►  In the queue  »  Songs with Girls’ Names → Part I  • 


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