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Essays

A Musical Awakening

PJ Harvey and the Return of the Protest Song

PJ Harvey “Don’t you remember when you were young / How you wanted to ‘Don’t set the world on fire?" sings Tim McIlrath on Endgame, the new album by punk band Rise Against. It sounds like a rallying cry for a generation of rockers who have been led to believe, by blingaddled hedonists and smug reality TV judges, that popular music can’t be revolutionary.

But revolutionary-minded music can certainly be popular: Endgame went in at No. 1 last month in Canada, and at No. 2 in the U.S.; Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers (No. 1 in the U.S. last month), finds the rapper railing against Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama; Green Day’s new live album, Awesome as F**k, opens with a three-song tirade against apathy and fundamentalist religion; and this year’s most critically acclaimed and widely discussed album thus far is P.J. Harvey’s warsong opus, Let England Shake.

— Story continues at The National Post

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