5 Albums to Listen to While You #Occupy
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With all of the political and social unrest occurring, TVD decided to give you five great albums to listen to while you picket the man bringing us down. Today marks 2 months of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its related offshoots in other cities globally. Born in New York City’s Liberty Square, #OWS fights back “against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.”

Today will be a Day of Mass Action in cities everywhere, to commemorate the struggle thus far. Here in DC, Occupy DC is holding a Teach-In Rally on Education, Jobs, and Infrastructure from noon to 2pm in McPherson Square, and at 2:30pm, there will be a march from McPherson Square to the Key Bridge “in protest of the deterioration of our public infrastructure and public services.” (Please note, their plan is not to block Key Bridge traffic.)

Whether you are marching in solidarity today or just commisserating from the office, here are 5 of our albums for the 99%.

The ClashLondon Calling

With subject matter touching on things such as social displacement and unemployment, Joe Strummer’s wily crew created an instant classic at the time (1979) by shoving the facts of the time in London right down everyone’s throats. Tracks like “London Calling” and “Spanish Bombs” talked about war, racial conflict, and even the incident at Three Mile Island in 1979, while “Clampdown” and “The Guns of Brixton” made people take a hard look at themselves in current times.

Bob DylanThe Times They Are A-Changin’

With this album, it seemed Dylan had one purpose—to write music for people to inspire change. It starts with the anthem/title track that gets right to the point by saying such things as “come senators, congressmen, please heed the call” and “the order is rapidly fadin’/ and the first one now/ will later be last/ for the times they are a-changin’.” Though other tracks like “With God on Our Side” and “One Too Many Mornings” are definitely a lot more understated, this album provoked a lot of thought, chants, and maybe even a little change.

Public EnemyIt Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

This album had an in-your-face attitude and tempo and lyrical content that went after white supremacy and preached African-American self-empowerment throughout, all the while encouraging listeners to stand up and do something about their surroundings and things they didn’t like. The thing that caught the public’s eye at the time of its release (1988) was how the group used popular pop songs from back in the day and turned them around into incendiary weapons of mass lyricism. The beauty of this album is that the whole thing gets you pumped up for challenging the status quo.


With a message so strong and powerful that it was actually able to knock Michael Jackson’s Thriller from the #1 selling album chart (and any of you that lived through the ’80s can remember how incredibly hard that must have been to do), U2’s first politically charged album might also be one of their best. Harsh, almost militaristic drum beats, rough guitars, and harrowing stories (the track “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is considered one of the greatest protest songs of all time), this album touches on the physiological tolls that war takes out of us, as well as touching on the struggles going on in Northern Ireland and the Polish solidarity movement (1983). This album is a must-listen to all protesters.

Rage Against the MachineRage Against the Machine

With a cover features a photo of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk burning himself to death out of protest, this album scared everyone from cover to cover when it came out. Challenging even the most basic ideals of the American dream, Zack de la Rocha sang of disenfranchisement and screams at the powers that be, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” Tracks like “Take the Power Back” and “Know Your Enemy” are completely unforgettable due to the sheer power of the lyrics and the incredible guitars, while other tracks like “Killing in the Name” somehow take that a step further, with unique guitar riffs and lyrics that would spark a resolution. This album is the unofficial soundtrack to riots all across the world since it came out.

Tell us in the comments below, your favorite political albums. Good luck today. The whole world is watching.

Top graphic by Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung

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