Top 10 Social Commentary Songs of 2016
10. “Zombies” – Childish Gambino
Gambino’s newest album held plenty of surprises from the rapper sound-wise, and this was one of the tracks that stuck out to me the most. It describes those around him as zombies – soul-sucking entities that only seem to care about one thing: money. No doubt this song was a result of the people that attempted to surround him on his rise to fame.
9. “Radio” – Sylvan Esso
“Radio” is a catchy tune that was picked as the first single off the band’s much anticipated sophomore album, describing the process some girls go through in order to make their way in the industry (“now don’t you look good sucking American dick”). The lyrics also go on to say that even when you do make it, all that comes out of it are “highway blues and gasoline fumes” – a fantasized life that’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
8. “I See Change” – Ny Oh
When I saw the Aussie native perform for the first time, she prefaced this song with the story of the first time she played it live – it was at the Grand Canyon for a crowd of strangers, and during her short performance she said some left and others gave her some choice comments. I found this a bit shocking as the lyrics reflect Ny Oh’s pain as she sees the beautiful world we call home become overrun with concrete, so to have people at a national park simply ignoring her message only seems a bit ironic, if not a perfect proof to her point.
7. “Fuck Donald Trump” – YG ft. G-Easy and Macklemore
I think the title speaks for itself.
6. “Drone Bomb Me” – ANOHNI
Anohni is better known by some as the lead singer of Antony and the Johnsons, but she did not hold back on her first solo album. The title of this song is pretty self-explanatory, a direct response to the incessant drone warfare and terrorism the world has been subject to these past few years. She commented that “it’s a love song from the perspective of a girl in Afghanistan, say a 9-year-old girl whose family’s been killed by a drone bomb. She is kind of looking up at the sky and she’s gotten herself to a place where she just wants to be killed by a drone bomb too.”
5. “Power Play” – HOLYCHILD
HOLYCHILD has been known for their brat pop infused with social commentary ever since they dropped their debut EP MINDSPEAK (an appropriate title to say the least). Before lead singer Liz Nistico had vocal surgery earlier this year, the duo released their latest EP America Oil Lamb, the name itself being a jab at what America has become. “Power Play” featuring RAC is a gritty synth filled track that delves into the world of wealth, mental health, self-worth, and the resulting fear of aging. Similar to an older track, “Nasty Girls”, Liz lists all the things she feels many people (including herself) get suckered into thinking are a necessary part of everyday life.
4. “iT” – Christine and the Queens
While it seems pretty clean cut that this song is about transsexualism, Héloïse (Christine) takes things a little deeper by saying, “I had symbolic desire with this song to take the place of a guy. Perhaps because I was not given what I wanted as a girl. But also by play. There is something of the infant omnipotence in this statement