The song I picked is “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” by Phil Ochs. This song was created as an “anti-war anthem”. It is made in order to establish that he is done marching to war and doesn’t want to be involved in the deaths of others. It was released as the Vietnam War was escalating, but wasn’t specifically about just that war, as he wanted it to have a lasting impact. The genres that this song seems to embody are “protest song”, “folk” and “rock”. Obviously, protest song has political aspects, but so does folk and rock. Both can be tied back to having political lyrics and messages in them.
Some lyrics important to the political message of the song include:
“For I’ve killed my share of Indians
In a thousand different fights
I was there at the little big horn
I heard many men lying
I saw many more dying
But I ain’t marchin’ anymore”
Here, he discusses the wars that have happened and the people that have died, and how he will no longer fight for the government anymore and kill people. Another lyric that stands out is this one:
“It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s always the young to fall”
Here, he discusses how its always the young men fighting and dying in the wars started by the older men.
A Musical characteristic that I think is important for political protest is a simple and catchy melody. In the song I picked, there is a simple melody throughout the entire song, making it easy to pick up on and sing along to after one or two listens. That is why I think it is an effective characteristic to have.