I went to see Hayseed Dixie the other night and their eminent frontman John Wheeler, aka Barley Scotch, argued that Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It is the greatest protest song ever written because it can mean whatever you want it to mean.

I'm fairly sure I don't agree with that, but it does give me an excuse, if excuse were needed, to include this rousing battle cry from the first Manic Street Preachers album, Generation Terrorists. 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.

If you're familiar with the opening of Public Enemy's Countdown to Armageddon, from the album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, you'll immediately recognise the sample of Professor Griff - competing against a wailing air-raid siren and a screaming crowd - shouting: "London, England, consider yourselves warned!"

And then vocalist James Dean Bradfield chimes in immediately with the first line: "Repeat after me: Fuck queen and country" - which was shockingly anti-establishment way back in 1991 - and the vitriol continues in the same vein, if a bit more oblique, apparently comparing the monarchy to the Khmer Rouge. Which is of course absurd, but undoubtedly turned a few heads, which was the idea.

This is first-class shock-rock posturing from a quartet of wet-behind-the-ears know-it-alls fresh from a small Welsh town called Blackwood, where they had hatched a plan to blaze a trail to London in the guise of glam-rock punk aesthetes combining a love of The Sex Pistols, Albert Camus and Guns N' Roses. They assumed their bright flame would undoubtedly burn out rather than fade away, but how were they to know they'd be a kind of rock royalty themselves - albeit without the much-missed Richey Edwards, who vanished without trace in 1995 - more than a quarter-century later?

It's all done in a little over three minutes, as all good rock'n'roll songs ought to be, and it definitely undervalues the contribution the United Kingdom has made as one of history's great democracies, but sometimes fighting evil is less about the details and more about the attitude, right?

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About the curator

After graduating from the University of Keele in England with a degree in Politics and American Studies, Jon worked as editor of a music and entertainment magazine before spending several years as a freelance writer and, with the advent of the internet, a website designer, developer and consultant. He lives in Reading, home to one of the world's most famous and long-running music festivals, which he has attended every year since 1992.

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