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Morning Song – The Message

December 14, 2015

(One in a series of songs that Rolling Stone left out of its 2013 “reader’s poll” of the “10 best protest songs of all time”.)

Not only did Rolling Stone’s list—with the partial exception of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In The Name”—completely miss rap music (as protest-filled a genre as exists in American music), it also completely missed the 1980s.

Which “explains” how Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s classic howl against the effects of Reaganomics, “The Message”, didn’t make the list.  “The Message” isn’t just a great protest song.  It’s a song that—as working-class neighborhoods in cities across the country were gutted and the crack epidemic raged throughout the early ’80s—kept unnumbered people sane by giving voice to the reality they knew and saw all around them. It wasn’t “morning in America“; it was a nightmare.

The bill collectors, they ring my phone,
And scare my wife when I’m not home;
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation,
Can’t take the train to the job, there’s a strike at the station….

Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge; I’m trying not to lose my head;

It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under….



From → Music

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