This week Helen Espinosa says: One thing music can do is give a voice to things that need to be said; things that are hard to find words for. There are some crazy things happening in the world right now, and I feel like I’m constantly bombarded with either terrible news or really awful politics. I feel like speaking out in the form of music. It can either be a protest song or a song about surviving this crazy thing called life.
The minute I saw “protest song” Phil Ochs came to mind. As told on wikipedia: He was an American protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer) and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and distinctive voice. He wrote hundreds of songs in the 1960s and 1970s and released eight albums. Ochs performed at many political events during the 1960s counterculture era, including anti-Vietnam War and civil rights rallies, student events, and organized labor events over the course of his career.
I have chosen his song “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.” Ochs wrote “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” as American involvement in the Vietnam War was beginning to grow. The song criticizes all of American military history from the perspective of a weary soldier who has been present at every single war since the War of 1812. The chorus notes that “it’s always the old who lead us to the war, always the young to fall” and asks whether the price of military victory has been too high. The lyrics are included in the video