10 Rock Songs You Didn't Realize Were Protest Tracks

Bringing the Resistance.

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Rock and roll hasn’t run short on its fair share of protest songs. For as long as rock and roll has even been alive, there have been people that are using the guitar as a form of resistance, constantly pushing the envelope to make points that hit on something more than just party music. Some of them are so good that they manage to sneak them right under your nose too.

For most of these songs, people wouldn’t even catch that they were protesting something if they weren’t told. The subtext behind these songs are pretty easily hidden, leaving the listener to have their own interpretation of what they think the song means as well. There is a clear target in every one of these songs though, and they’re not exactly subtle when you actually break them down.

For every song that you might think is a joyous rock delight, there’s another one around the corner that’s seething with anger, and these are the ones that you look for when you want to see change in the world. They might not be the easiest to decipher from one word to the next, but these weren’t meant to be protest songs from skin to core. These were the songs that you needed to do some digging on before you got it.

10. Imagine - John Lennon

When John Lennon first started work on Imagine, he knew that he was creating something that was meant for the whole world to understand. And it’s not like the rest of the world didn’t follow suit, almost adopting the song as a message for peace every single time it’s used in promotional events. It’s just that…this song isn’t really supposed to be about peace and love for the entire world.

As John explained back in the day, this was actually meant to advocate for something that was a lot more militant in tone, saying that half of the words were ripped straight out of the Communist Manifesto. Although it’s easy to pick up on the central idea of the world living as one, you also have to take into consideration those lines where he imagines no countries either, with everyone living in peace and brotherhood without any possessions to their name. To be fair, John knew that he had to disguise this mindset a little bit, saying that he “sugarcoated” the melody to make the rest of the song go down easy.

There have been many people since that have tried to tear him through the mud for going political, but this song was never meant to spark revolution. We’re just meant to picture this kind of utopia in our minds and think of what it must be like without any cares in the world.


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