The power that music holds in social change is undeniable. Songs have been tightly woven into issues, both past and present, that we have all faced at some point regarding civil rights, human rights, LGBT rights, peace movements, social, gender, and economic inequality and even stretch as far as changes to the environment and climate. They have been key in bringing much needed awareness to a wider audience, helping to create the critical mass to effectively make a positive change in the world around us.
I’ve created a playlist to share with you that includes songs written and recorded anywhere from the sixties to just a couple years ago. These are powerful, thought-provoking songs covering a wide range of genres, events, and issues with one major thing in common; they all have a purpose and message that remain relevant today in 2016.
This playlist is really an open invitation, a conversation starter if you will, to share your opinions and suggestions as to how we can use the lyrics of our past to shape our future.
The classic ‘A change is gonna come’ by Sam Cooke still hits home with the African-American community and, honestly, all minorities by proxy where segregation is still alive. John Lennon’s iconic ‘Imagine’ puts global struggles to find peace among all walks of life in perspective every time you push play. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ ‘Same Love’ will be necessary until LGBT communities are no longer victim to discrimination and disdain, while ‘I Am Woman’, performed and co-written by Helen Reddy became an anthem for the women’s liberation movement in the 1970’s and it’s lyric hold true as we still work towards gender equality.
Listening to songs like ‘Fortunate Son’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival or Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ gives great perspective into the considerations we should take with up-and- coming elections. Looking outside our own national borders and into what is going on in the world today, songs like ‘Sunday, bloody Sunday’ by U2 and ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ by Bob Marley & The Wailers speak of the harsh realities of genocide and repression that remain all too real in suffering countries across the globe.
In a day and age where climate change is becoming more prevalent (let’s not ignore this white elephant in the room) Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ speaks about nature being destroyed by overdevelopment using a beautiful sense of humor, while the song ‘What a Wonderful World’ reminds us, through the soothing voice of Louis Armstrong, that there is so much to be grateful about and equally worth fighting for.
There is much to be gained by understanding that the greatest changes and contributions we can make to our world start with ourselves and thanks to Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’, we can be reminded and encouraged by his simple, yet profound lyrics; “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”.
This playlist is really an open invitation, a conversation starter if you will, to share your opinions and suggestions as to how we can use the lyrics of our past to shape our future. Send your thoughts and submissions to our Create Change team and together let’s create a new wave of change that will stand the test of time.
Let’s be part of the solution.