Playlist: Make Bonfire Night Go Out With a Bang

Whilst it’s easy to get wrapped in the commercial side of Bonfire Night, there still remains a more serious message. Guy Fawkes and his gang attempted a terrorist plot. IMPACT looked at some slightly less dangerous protests; politically rebellious songs to match the riotous occasion. 

The Tom Robinson Band – ‘Power In The Darkness’

1979. To the backdrop of economic hardship, widespread unemployment, and ever-growing social and racial tensions (urged on by the emergence of white nationalist groups such as the National Front), The Tom Robinson Band’s ‘Power In The Darkness’ delivers a poignant message, securing them as leading contributors to the Rock Against Racism movement. With shock-factor tactics, the track emphasises our responsibility to be wary of the politician’s tendency to manipulate ideas of freedom and entitlement – it reminds the listener not to be drawn in by rhetoric that would seek to entrench in Britain a classification of “us and them”. 35 years later…are you listening, Mr. Farage?

Rage Against the Machine – ‘Know Your Enemy’

Not exactly peppered with nuance and subtly, Know Your Enemy is classic Rage Against the Machine and provides all the appropriate riffs and blunt, political chants you would expect from the band.  Perhaps not as eloquent as Morrissey, Zach De la Rocha’s lyrics are just as inspiring. ‘Fight the war! Fuck the norm!’

Sam Cooke – ‘A Change is Gonna Come’

A timeless Civil Rights anthem, Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’, is a song charged with pertinence and power. Despite openly engaging with the hopelessness that many black Americans felt at the time, Cooke’s words and music still manage to evoke a profound sense of enduring optimism. Though it enjoyed limited commercial success, the song’s universal message of hope continues to resonate with people today.

‘American Idiot’ was essential listening for any teenager in 2004.

Green Day – ‘American Idiot’

Arguably the most famous anti-Bush America song of the 21st century and certainly the most recognisable to our generation, Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ was essential listening for any teenager in 2004. It perfectly captured the Western world’s dissatisfaction with the Iraqi War while never exploring too heavily the political intricacies alien to us at such a young age. Billie Joe Armstrong never lays claim to knowing the answers to America’s dramatic unravelling of patriotism, but he sure poses all the right questions. ‘Can you hear the sound of hysteria?’ Absolutely we could. ?

The Specials – ‘Racist Friend’

It makes you wonder if 2014 is a modern age to be living in at all.

The never ending war against racism continues, its most recent enemy is the political party UKIP. Whilst Nigel Farage gets more media coverage than genuine heroes or conflicts around the world, it makes you wonder if 2014 is a modern age to be living in at all. The Specials urge their listeners to isolate themselves from the small minded views of racists with the lyrics “So if you have a racist friend, now is the time for your friendship to end”. Amen to that.

James Nobel, David Rowlands, Joseph Izzard, Liv Clarke, Jacob Banks, Daisy Foster




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