Ladies and gentlemen, come Nov. 8, the mess known as the 2016 Presidential Election will finally come to a bittersweet close. As much as the all-consuming nature of the election seemed to overshadow nearly every aspect of culture for the past few months, I will miss the satirical nature in which one could comment on both — incapable — candidates. If you count yourself as one sick of politics or someone with a cynical look at the election, the following playlist is dedicated to you.

“Gunship Politico” – State Radio: Chadwick Stokes of State Radio may be one of the most vocal political proponents for our current generation of musicians. The tune, off of the politically-charged “Us Against the Crown,” is a testament to the wicked ways of warfare and the greed in our political hierarchy that exists out of going into senseless wars. Aside from the lyrical content, the rhythmic components are pure genius as Stokes’ guitar playing aids in the story being told.

“When the President Talks to God” – Bright Eyes: Talk about an attack on former President George W. Bush. Even the cover of the single depicts an “angelic” Bush speaking from his pulpit. Every aspect of Bush’s presidency is critiqued during Conor Oberst’s tirade, including the treatment of convicted war criminals and the invasion of Iraq. Drawing inspiration from 60s protest culture, Bright Eyes develops a political stance that seems even more pertinent as we head further into the 21st century.

“Maggie’s Farm” – Bob Dylan: One of the greatest protest artists of our generation, Dylan transcended ideological frameworks in the 1960s by writing from the perspective of a disgruntled, working class American. As tired as Dylan is of working for “Maggie’s pa” or “Maggie’s brother,” he musters up enough energy to defend the working class laborers who demanded workers’ rights while also crafting some of the most profound lyrics to come out of the 1960s.

“Lie, Cheat, Steal” – Run the Jewels: While many individuals at our University might not understand the issues occurring at the moment in terms of street violence, Run the Jewels is here to bring some political context to the issue. The song is written from the perspective of an arbiter of violence, who is self-reflective on his lifestyle yet wants a better life than that of the streets. Killer Mike even calls upon the great Martin Luther King Jr. for guidance.

“Skeleton” – The Front Bottoms: Being one of the more lighthearted tunes on the playlist, the song tackles the issue of student debt, which could not be more relatable during the election season. The New Jersey garage outfit gives the listener a relatable circumstance of getting “stoned” to forget the issues plaguing them. Who said politics couldn’t be fun?

“Killing in the Name Of” – Rage Against the Machine: In one of my absolute favorite political anthems, RATM takes a stance against racism, political corruption and police brutality with a full-fledged middle finger to big wig politicians that seem to manipulate both the media and the authorities. The band might be the greatest political group to produce music that we ever hear and their song is a testament to everything that they believe in without ever pulling a punch.

“New Year’s Day” – U2: Jumping over the pond to Ireland, we come across the politically-charged group called U2 and this little number called, “New Year’s Day,” which was written out of respect for the Polish Solidarity movement. Bono’s vocal arrangement paired alongside the Edge’s delayed guitar produces a melodically fierce pairing that ultimately comes to define the song for all U2 fans.

“This Land is Your Land” – My Morning Jacket: Originally composed by country guru, Woody Guthrie, My Morning Jacket decides to take the wheel for this cover and boy, do they deliver. Rather than segregating the American populace, the song calls for the complete action of the American people to join one another in celebrating the nation that we have constructed from the ground up and establish a community of love and tolerance that prevails in the American spirit.

“Old Man Trump” – Ryan Harvey & Ani Difranco: Another Woody Guthrie protest comes to light in this playlist, but this time, Harvey and Difranco take the pilot seat in this attack on Fred Trump, Republican candidate Donald Trump’s father. The allusions made to Trump Sr.’s negligent and offensive housing practices are brought up, as well as the image of the Trump Tower, both of which seem oddly reminiscent of a current debacle in the 2016 Presidential Election.

“Throwing Stones” – Grateful Dead: In response to the heightening nuclear tension in the Middle East, the Dead penned this tune as a critique of nuclear winter and how the exchange of threats is simply just “throwing stones.” I chose the live version, as I do with most Dead songs, as it exemplifies the musical proficiency encoded in their live act that still resonates with Deadheads to this day.

“Anarchy in the U.K.” – The Sex Pistols: The snarkiness in Johnny Rotten’s anti-loyalist anthem has become the soundtrack of opposition for countless political protesters. Punk rock, in itself, was always a means of protest, but The Sex Pistols managed to work against the grain in a method of providing a heavier, distorted sound with lyrics and content matter that induced some “anarchy in the U.K.”

“Gimme Shelter” – The Rolling Stones: Watch any movie regarding the Vietnam War and I’m sure that this Stones tune will somehow make an appearance. Mick Jagger even commented that “that’s a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It’s apocalypse; the whole record’s like that.” The opening riff, provided by Keith Richards, is probably one of the most memorable licks in classic rock history and is anthemic in a way that could never be matched.

“When it Rains it Pours” – Twiddle: This may be the hottest jam band on the market today and this number highlights the sheer musical diversity and excitement that the band is able to bring to their live environment. The song tackles the issue of poverty and the necessity for finding simplicity in the small things; a life lesson that affects generations of listeners.

“Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: After the tragedy at Kent State University in May of 1970, in which 12 students were killed protesting the National Guard, Neil Young penned this protest anthem that would go on to define 60s counterculture and protest movements. The opening riff sets the tone for a dismally invigorating tune that laments the tragedy, yet incites protest in those who were affected by the incident. This may be one of the best protest songs ever written.

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