Popular Protest Songs Might Be Gone Forever

Today's music is apolitical, and don't expect that to change: Stephen Walt
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2012 1:46 PM CDT
Bob Dylan is seen in this April 27, 1965, file photo in London.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Heard any good American protest songs lately? Yeah, probably not, and Stephen M. Walt laments the demise of the artform in Foreign Policy. It's not like there's a shortage of things to write about, given the context of two wars, the lousy economy, and a seeming national contempt for politicians. And yet, modern popular music remains mostly apolitical, writes Walt. "I get little sense that contemporary musicians are shaping political attitudes or behavior as they might have in earlier eras."

Why? Walt doesn't profess to know. Maybe it's because the draft is gone, or "because the digital/Internet revolution has carved the listening audience into smaller and smaller niches, so that it's harder for any artist to write something with broad appeal and a political message." Maybe people are just too distracted these days playing Wii or "downloading Jon Stewart reruns" to pore over song lyrics, or maybe that phenomenon of the '60s was a one-time fluke of the enormous Baby Boom generation. Either way, don't expect any new Dylans to come our way soon. Read Walt's full piece here.

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