Social Commentary

The other day I was driving the girls home from school on Musical Friday.  Everyday is Musical ____day when I’m dropping them off or picking them up.  Music is a huge part of my life and I’m doing what I can to teach them about music I grew up with.  So we’re driving along and Prince comes on singing “Sign O’ The Times” so I tell the girls that while it’s got a funky beat, they have to listen to the words of this one because it’s a social commentary…Prince’s view of the world back when he wrote this.  I explain that now and then some artists write songs that express what they see and feel is going on, right or wrong, with the world or a smaller, more focused subject.  I mention Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” to them, but they’ve not heard that one yet…not that they aren’t allowed to, it just hasn’t come on while they’re in the car with me yet.  So, here are some Social Commentaries…

Prince’s “Sign O’ The Times” from 1987…

Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” from 1982…

John Mellencamp’s “Rain on the Scarecrow” from 1985…

While I can’t relate on a personal level to Ice Cube’s social commentary, it was echoed by a number of “Gangsta” rappers in the early 90’s and in some very moving, well-made movies like “Colors” and “Boyz n the Hood.”  In this particular take on the gang life, Ice Cube looks at the problems and issues he dealt with in a kind of positive way..

Ice Cube’s “It was a Good Day” from 1993…  [Explicit Lyrics]

Edwin Starr’s “War” from 1970…

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