Assignment 1 Blog4-Music into politics, politics into music

Music, as part of culture in the society, has significate connection with politics and ideology, or even the social movement. Popular music has been connected explicitly with social change and political controversy(Peddie,2006). We can see hundreds of examples about the music works which relates to politics at all times and in all countries,no matter from ancient to modern or from eastern to western societies.It can be protest songs, anti-war songs, national anthems and so on.

According to the Peddie(2006), musicians are involved with politics in one of two ways which may be linked. The first describes the case of people who happen to be musicians, and as such have acquitted a public presence, or status, which they use to support candidates. The second captures the case of those who use their music to express their political views.

Many pop stars spent most of their time not engaged in politics, most pop artists are not making political statements or gestures(Peddie,2006). It has been regarded as sensitive issue when artists reveal their ideology toward politics. Especially in the authoritarian era, any types of demonstration could ruin an artist’s career. Even in the democratic society in most of the countries worldwide nowadays, many artists, especially those who the mainstream media often reported are keep silence about the political points of view in case the risk of being offensive to their loyal audiences and commercial benefits. In some situations, artists who are invited to perform in public by the political organization or official government accidentally irritates other political groups or opposite political stance. For instance, Taiwanese most popular diva A-Mei had been blocked and restricted to perform in China for at least four years by PRC’s government for just singing the anthem of ROC (Taiwan) on the inauguration of new president.

However, it can be noticed that there are still many examples about artists who actively promote their opinions or ideology toward politics or the controversial issues. Like Peddie(2006) had suggested that pop stars features prominently in campaigns about nuclear weapons, civil, gay and women’s rights, famine, environmental issues and so on. For instance, U2 has collaborated with other musicians, artists, celebrities, and politicians to address issues concerning poverty, disease, and social injustice since the early 1980s ; Elton John, Damon Albarn, Billy Bragg and countless others have signed public petition against the war (Peddie, 2006). In Taiwan, we can see the example about musicians who engaged themselves in politics despite the case are usually in underground or indie musicians or bands. Chthonic is the post famous metal band that actively appeared in the Taiwanese political scene and showed the supportive perspective to independence movement of Taiwan and the singer Freddy Lim even have promoted the Free Tibet Concert in Taiwan. For this left-wing political stand, it has been banned in parts of China for their political views.

All in all, since music is part of life from the day we human being exist, it has recorded multi-aspects of lives of people and been connected explicitly with social changes and political controversy. (Peddie,2006).


Peddie, I. (2006). The Resisting Muse: Popular Music and Social Protest. Hants: Ashgate.

Music and politics. Available at:

Chthonic. Available at:


2 thoughts on “Assignment 1 Blog4-Music into politics, politics into music

  1. Staying away from genres like punk and indie that are much more overt in their political intentions and opinions is really interesting and very different when looking at political meaning within music.

    I’d suggest looking further into genres without an identity which places performers as politically-involved, such as pop. When Lionel Richie released All Night Long, the African singing in it led to a variety of readings, one of which was political due to a mispronunciation of a phrase being heard as a politician’s name. Pop as political resistance is very interesting as it rarely has that sort of lyrical content (at least pure pop does, as opposed to pop punk, indie pop etc.)

  2. I really enjoyed this clear article, looking at the two main ways in which artists can make political stances, either through their presence or through the lyrics and musical backdrop of their work. This week, the bombing of Aleppo left people around the world feel helpless, a couple of weeks ago the issue with Standing Rock left people similarly dumbstruck as to what they could do. Particularly in the eighties, there were mass media big status artists stepping forward to try and make a change, but you are right in saying that it could be career damaging, so many stay away from airing their opinions in public.
    It made me think of M.I.A., who is very outspoken, along with Lily Allen, who was recently villified by the Daily Mail for getting involved with the refugee crisis. Artists like Anoushka Shankar have written albums dedicated and inspired to the refugee tragedy, working with M.I.A. and other artists. It will be interesting to see if any major artists come forward to raise more awareness of global political situations.

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