Music & It’s Politicisation // Blog for BBC Three
I often use the lines of poet, Kate Tempest, as a metaphor to describe the political state we live in as young people, “we’re the tokens of the broken generation,” being my favourite. But Kate is an openly political poet, a voice standing to question the political deviants. But as lyricism turns to document the year of global change, from bedroom to Tahir Square, how is the wider climate for political music changing?
We can blame the protest movements as being an easy answer to explaining this change, but let’s take it a bit further. Let’s explore the metaphors of today’s current poets, and question what they think.
For grime artist, P Money, it’s a question of battling against control, “our generation are being born into an attitude where they’re told they’re never going to make it, because ‘grime’ is their voice. So there’s a natural anger”. We’re breeding an attitude amongst our generation that the older forces of society see youth expression as aggressive, and unwelcome – and it’s little wonder that aggression feeds into the passion of ‘grime’ as a genre. Grime is the genre of the young and angry, but let’s not be naive that it is the only politicised music being written at current.
For poet and MC Dizraeli, this essence of the everyday documentation of real life as the politics of our system, is a powerful rhetoric we constantly forget about, “as a younger artist, I used to make grand universal statements about the ways people think. But then I came to realise, there is nothing more political than the small details of everyday life,” and that’s something that Jon McClure of Reverend & The Makers, spawning from an entirely different genre agrees with – “in lots of ways, talking about a situation, however seemingly mundane, has a bigger relevance to politics on a wider level if you’re writing from a bad situation”.
Music is always political, and always will be, and though it’s not something we’d directly relate with our everyday lives, it’s something that affects and controls us all. The best stories are told from the perspective we can all understand, “the universal is best refracted through the details,” says Dizreali. So maybe it’s a case the wordsmiths of today are getting better at talking about this everyday relation to politics. Maybe. I’m sure most of us would disagree. But there’s unquestionably a forum available out there, with the introduction of the internet, to broadcast these wider political and widely un-promoted messages.
So, what about the music we’re brainwashed by on mainstream radio, is that political? Jazz trumpeter and hip hop artist Soweto Kinch seems to think so – “the most dangerous fiction is saying music is de-politicised. Pop music is intensely political; it’s exhorting people to see the world in a particular way”. If pop music is the metaphor for an idealistic society, then surely we’re all accepting political music constantly, in whatever landscape, class, or lifestyle we set ourselves. In the words of Dizreali, “music is a liberal art”. And with that quote in mind, I leave you to think and ponder.