Top 10 Protest Videos for 2006

As 2006 comes to a close, everyone has their “top ten” something for the year. This year, as I watched the tragedy in Iraq continue to unfold, I took some solace in the fact that musicians were beginning to speak out with enough frequency that it was possible to talk about “protest music” in a way that hasn’t been possible since the ’60s. With that in mind, here are my top 10 Protest Music Videos of the year, courtesy of YouTube.

1- “Dear Mister President” by Pink. I have to admit that I had never listened much to Pink. I assumed she was still the Pink of “Let’s get this party started.” This is a moving, powerful song by a talented artist.

2- “Let’s Impeach the President” by Neil Young. Neil Young is a national treasure and has been since he was writing songs protesting the war in Viet Nam. The lyrics aren’t too subtle, but sometimes you have to speak the truth in plain language.

3- “Casino Nation” by Jackson Browne. A brilliant singer-songwriter, Jackson Browne has also been writing powerful music since the 1960’s. Not only are the lyrics to the song thought provoking, the graphics are superb.

4- “Megalomaniac” by Incubus. Disturbing lyrics, disturbing graphics.

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5- “Lives in the Balance” by Jackson Browne. I know, this Jackson Browne classic was not written this year. But, the updated video shows how relevant the message of the song is for today.

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6- “Mosh” by Eminem. Not my favorite genre of music, but I have a feeling this song was heard by more young people than any others on the list. This video is not new this year. Eminem has an updated version, but I wasn’t able to find a copy on YouTube.

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7. Advertisement for “Shut Up and Sing” by the Dixie Chicks. I couldn’t have a top ten list of protest music without including the Dixie Chicks. This ad for the documentary, “Shut up and Sing” and the next video are my “tip of the hat” to them.

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7a. “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks. Not exactly a protest song, but see above.

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8. “Rich Man’s War” by Steve Earle. Steve Earle is a folksinger/songwriter in the classic tradition. This video was taken at a concert in tribute to Cindy Sheehan.

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9. “America First” by Merle Haggard. Bush had to know he was in trouble when Hag turned on him.

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10. “Masters of War” by Pearl Jam. The paradigm protest song by Bob Dylan. This is a great version, but it is not the original. O.K., I guess you had to have been there to really appreciate Dylan’s version.
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