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Could 2017 See The Return Of The Political Pop Song?

06/03/2017 14:58

Many of us are still smarting from the losses we suffered in 2016 - from Brexit to the deaths of the likes of David Bowie and George Michael.

For music lovers like myself, I felt the latter even more keenly than the first - and the inauguration of Donald Trump almost did me in totally.

It seems I'm in good company - Lily Allen was so incensed, she released a cover of Rufus Wainwright's 'Going to A Town' track in protest, with it's prescient opening lyrics: "I'm going to a town that has already been burnt down/I'm going to a place that has already been disgraced/I'm gonna see some folks who have already been let down" and it's refrain: "I'm so tired of America."

Coincidentally, Going to a Town was previously covered to much acclaim by the late former Wham! star George, who also tried his hand at other protest songs over his career - perhaps rather lamentably with his less than wonderful original composition Shoot the Dog, which attempted to lambast the 'poodle' relationship between British PM Tony and then US President George W Bush, whilst criticising UK foreign policy. At the very least however, it's thankfully some distance from Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.

Even Gorillaz came out of retirement to release a Trump-inspired video, their first in six years, just before the inauguration in January.

Hopefully, this means we'll see more artists coming out of ideological hibernation and getting political this year too - after all, some of the greatest popular musical movements have been inspired by social and political unrest - from punk and 2Tone through to Britpop. Many forget that the latter started many years before Tony Blair wrested the keys to Number 10 off the Tories.

And many people felt - myself included - that the Brit Awards the other week were a good example of how moribund the British music scene has become in the past few years. (http://nypost.com/2017/02/23/british-music-really-sucks-right-now/)

If nothing else of course, as well as potentially being cathartic for exorcising our suffering under social and political ills, great new music can just make us feel good.

This list just released by BBC Radio 1 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/58KckT0wF0Fx77jqGFZ4yxl/9-upcoming-albums-that-will-inevitably-make-2017-a-better-year) is a tantalising taste of what we could be filling our ears with over the course of the rest of the year - I for one am very much looking forward to the new outing from Lorde, and not least Lana Del Rey, Zara Larsson, Dua Lipa and The Chainsmokers.

But even more intriguingly, could Katy Perry be about to be one of those to discover her political voice?

She's an outspoken critic of Donald J and was out on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton in her sadly unsuccessful election campaign - and she's about to release her fifth album this year.

Perhaps music will be the conduit to help restore the out-of-kilter karma of the world in 2017 after all. We might just have a musical silver lining...

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