Don't Give Up the Ship - So Pretty

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Don't Give Up the Ship - So Pretty

So Pretty are a DIY feminist punk rock band from Chicago who not only make a fabulous raucous noise but are also community activists in their own right, creating their own arts space for women and trans individuals.

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Which Side Are You On? - B. Dolan

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Which Side Are You On? - B. Dolan

Rhode Island rapper B. Dolan calls out the hip-hop haters in this song that samples a folk song written for striking American miners in the 1930s.

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I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free - Nina Simone

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I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free - Nina Simone

Like a lot of young British movie fans of my age, the deceptively cheerful piano melody of this song first came to my attention in the 1970s as the theme music to the BBC's long-running Film Review series (Film 1972, Film 1973 etc etc...) and it was nearly twenty years before I learned that this jolly jazz-gospel piano tune was in fact one of the key cultural touchstones of the American Civil Rights movement.

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Silver Lining - Stiff Little Fingers

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Silver Lining - Stiff Little Fingers

The music of SLF was a great influence on me as a teenager. Coming from a small, rural town in the East of England, I couldn't relate directly to a bunch of Belfast boys who had grown up during The Troubles. But I had no difficulty understanding what it was like to be surrounded by generations of adults who thought they knew best about my future, despite making a mess of the world and their own lives.

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Now - Potent Whisper + Maria-Christina & The 7 Pedals

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Now - Potent Whisper + Maria-Christina & The 7 Pedals

From the very start of Now you'll be able to hear the simmering anger and imagine the sneering curl of London rapper Potent Whisper's lip as he taunts the establishment. But what you might be surprised to learn is that the backing music isn't the usual layer upon layer of samples. It's not even a whole band, although you'd be forgiven for thinking it is. In fact, all of the music on Now is performed on... a harp.

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My Mind is for Sale - Jack Johnson

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My Mind is for Sale - Jack Johnson

The mellow sound of Hawaiian folk-pop surf dude Jack Johnson has not got any less gentle on the ear with this first taste of his forthcoming new (seventh) album, so it might sound a bit abrupt when played alongside the likes of Prophets of Rage, but don't mistake that chirpy, slick production and cooing, treacly vocal for terminal insouciance. Jack Johnson is cross.

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Better Decide Which Side You're On - The Tom Robinson Band

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Better Decide Which Side You're On - The Tom Robinson Band

The passion of Better Decide Which Side You're On is just as strong and most of the lyrics seem particularly apposite 40 years after it was written. This is a song about standing up to fight against extreme right "bullyboys" and giving no quarter to those who are "sitting on the fence".

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Risk to Exist - Maximo Park

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Risk to Exist - Maximo Park

"If you see something and you think somebody needs to stand up for it – whatever issue it might be – then you should," Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith told The Independent earlier this year as they debuted their sixth album, Risk To Exist. "There’s a responsibility as a citizen and as a human."

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Repeat - Manic Street Preachers

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Repeat - Manic Street Preachers

A song doesn't necessarily have to earn its place on the Music to Fight Evil playlist by arguing a well-reasoned political point. Sometimes it's enough to be angry at... whatever. Like this rousing battle cry from the first Manic Street Preachers album, Generation Terrorists.

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Unfuck the World - Prophets of Rage

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Unfuck the World - Prophets of Rage

This year's first new Prophets of Rage material, Unfuck the World, has all the characteristics you'd expect from RATM and Public Enemy. Frankly, it feels like it was made for the Music to Fight Evil playlist.

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Get Better - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

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Get Better - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Most protest songs concern themselves with the symptoms of the problem rather than the problem itself. But Get Better by Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip takes a wider and more positive outlook, challenging young people to rise above their circumstances rather than be consumed by them.

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99 Red Balloons - Nena

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99 Red Balloons - Nena

Ah, the Europop one hit wonder. Usually it's as close to a definitive expression of disposable, fun-while-it-lasts, harmless bubble gum pop as it's possible to be - Whigfield's Saturday Night, Lou Bega's Mambo Number 5, Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex, Blue by Eiffel 65... I could go on, but as the list grows it begins to seem less like harmless fun and the more like a pandemic of mindlessness.

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Looking Forward to Your Fall - Eric Anders

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Looking Forward to Your Fall - Eric Anders

The word is schadenfreude - the German bon mot that describes the pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune.

In this case, of course, as the title suggests, Eric Anders isn't able to experience that pleasure quite yet...

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God Save The Hungry - Grace Petrie

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God Save The Hungry - Grace Petrie

Apparently every nation has to have an anthem. Presumably this is so that footballers can stand awkwardly before important matches, incoherently mumbling the words while a TV camera probes their faces in close-up before they're allowed to get on with what they came for.

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It Says Here by Billy Bragg

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It Says Here by Billy Bragg

It Says Here is a warning about the danger of fake news, released in the year synonymous with George Orwell's "doublethink". The opening track on Billy Bragg' second album Brewing Up with Billy Bragg scorns the newspapers and warns their readers to "just remember, there are two sides to every story".

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All You Need Is Love by The Beatles

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All You Need Is Love by The Beatles

At the very peak of The Beatles' career, modern communications technology gave them the opportunity to spread the message of what would become known as the "Summer of Love" all around the globe. Our World was a worldwide satellite TV broadcast on June 25th 1967, for which The Beatles were chosen to represent the United Kingdom by singing their specially composed song All You Need is Love.

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Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

When Neil Young picked up the new issue of Life magazine in May 1970 and saw the now infamous photograph of a young girl kneeling over the dead body of a student protester, he was filled with rage. He walked off into the woods and when he came back an hour later, he had written this song.

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How Do You Sleep? by BIGG

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How Do You Sleep? by BIGG

The whole paradoxical tangle of guilt and innocence is summed up in four familiar words - a single, weighted question at the heart of a riff-fuelled, two minute blast of vitriol.

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Heartland - The The

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Heartland - The The

For this year's Record Store Day, Matt Johnson has released his first new material for 15 years – a one-sided 7" single called We Can’t Stop What’s Coming. In fact, as he reveals in the new documentary The Inertia Variations - a film essay that uses Johnson's experience to investigate the notion of creative stagnation resulting from anxiety - it's the first time he's written a song or even sung one in a very, very long time.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Gil Scott-Heron

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Gil Scott-Heron

Often credited as one of the godfathers of rap music, Gil Scott-Heron didn't set out to be a singer-songwriter. He started his career as a youngster writing poetry but a cult legend was born when jazz producer Bob Thiele - recognising the raw charisma of Scott-Heron's vocal delivery - set Scott-Heron's poetry to music for the first time. These early recordings included The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, a scything indictment of white America's blind ignorance of racial issues.

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