► Rock the vote. I usually hate when music artists tackle specific political issues in their songs, and I especially hate it when they use their concerts as stumping platforms.
I mean I get it—musicians (and other famous people) using their power and position for (what they think is) the good of the public.
Yada yada yada.
But personally, that sort of thing leaves me in agreement my college friend who, after attending a concert by a (very famous) band whose members spent more time talking politics than making music, said this:
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). 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 because 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 is political. Just not in this century. Or last century. Or in this country. Or on this continent. What can I say? I’m an English teacher.
4 • Mercy Mercy Me • Marvin Gaye ► A smooth jam for these hard times.
3 • All Along the Watchtower • Jimi Hendrix ► For all the dooms-dayers 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. ■
graphics/text © 2016 hilary hall photograph courtesy of the U.S. Army