Well, one of the most contentious presidential elections in modern history is over, and Donald Trump won. Whether that fills a person with joy or an overwhelming amount of existential dread and horror depends on a lot of factors, but needless to say, many, many people are upset at the outcome right now. For those who view Trump as a horrific orange hobgoblin who will dismantle the rights of millions and destroy much of what many of us love about America, this is a confusing time — what can a person do to help them deal with the prospect of a Trump presidency? My advice? Go form a band. Here are a few reasons why.
5. Great Music Has Often Come From Times of Oppression
OK, I'm not saying it's certain Trump will usher in a new era of oppression, where marginalized and at-risk people are tormented mercilessly. He's softened some of his most hateful rhetoric since winning, but it's safe to say that the next few years won't likely be a time of great forward progress on social issues many of us would like to see happen. So in an environment like that, can good music thrive? The answer, of course, is yes. Great music has almost always come out of times of social unrest — take a look at the musical renaissance that occurred from the mid '60s through the early '70s. When a counterculture needed its soundtrack, lots of bands formed and provided one. Many of them are now considered to have created some of the best music ever made. Fast-forward just a few years, and punk rock exploded onto the scene, once again taking aim at social injustice.
By the early '80s, America had the Ronald Reagan era to contend with — a new conservatism washed over the land, and angry music continued to shake things up as hardcore punk and other sounds from the underground expressed discontent with the social and political events of the time. It's a clear lesson from history: oppressive eras spawn great music. Go form a band.
4. Protest Music Can Help Affect Real Change
This sort of goes with the previous entry, but yes, in providing a soundtrack for those who are actively resisting oppression, music can be a vital part of real societal change. Looking at the music that has tended to be "mainstream popular" during socially conservative eras of American history, it's no surprise that the best music seems to always percolate up from the underground, and it often is angry protest music. That was the case in the late '60s and in the '80s, and it's likely that the pattern could repeat. That music is often the best way to get a message out, and can inspire real action is a great reason to go out and start writing songs. Go form a band.
3. Musical Expression Is a Healthy Way to Vent Frustration
Angry? Get out and protest. Get organized. Form groups to resist oppression and to protect the vulnerable. Learn to play an instrument if you don't know how, and start writing songs about the things you want to see changed. Playing music is one of the healthiest ways a person can express themselves and vent their frustration. Writing good music benefits the musician — it's a way to get things off your chest, and to get your message out while also relieving some of the stress that will arise during troubling times. Go form a band.
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2. Music Is One Form of Protest That's Difficult to Silence
Fortunately the United States still has constitutional protections of self-expression and free speech, but even in countries without those protections, music is one of the most difficult forms of expression for authorities to suppress. People will always find a way to listen to music, and when governments clamp down on civil liberties, folks tend to still find ways to create and listen to protest music. Fortunately, while plenty of groups in the U.S. have tried to get music they don't like banned, very few have made much headway in that regard. With social conservatives about to be steering our collective ship for at least the next four years, and possibly a lot longer, it's important to resist any attempts by them to censor or ban music they dislike. One of the best ways to do that is to make more of that kind of music. Go form a band.
1. Our Country Needs More Thoughtful and Angry Bands Right Now
There's a lot of great music being made, but as is usually the case, the most popular artists and material are mostly... Well, if it's unfair to call it "bad," not very much of it is challenging in any real way. That could change, as major artists have occasionally made socially conscious music in reaction to oppression, but it's not guaranteed. There's still a lot of surface-level "angry" music being made — entire genres sort of rely on that, but finding bands that address real social issues in a thoughtful way is more difficult. So what to do? Write your own music. Our country needs more angry musicians. Go form a band.