This challenge is a tricky one. There are a lot of different emotions that drive me to retreat into my music collection, but anger is not one of them. I think what I’ll do today is feature three pissed-off sounding artists as proxies for how I feel when I’m angry.
Ted Leo + The Pharmacists are a personal favourite of mine. Ted seems to be the kind of guy that wears his heart on his sleeve and is completely unimpressed by bullshit. He sometimes writes celebratory songs, or anxious songs, or even melancholy songs. I was very lucky to catch Ted + the Pharmacists in a club gig in my town a few years ago, and it was a fun evening. I don’t think he is particularly fond of some of the machinations of his government, as put into music on “Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.” from the 2007 album Living With The Living. This song is a bit of a departure from his usual songs, but it is certainly angry.
Manic Street Preachers are a band from Wales that I discovered by reading UK music magazines a long time ago, and have admired ever since. From time to time they lose the plot and make an iffy album, but 90% of the time they manage to come out with something brilliant. It’s hard to pin down their politics sometimes, although I think it’s fair to say that they lean toward the socialist end of the spectrum. The Manics have written furious diatribes about the tyranny of bankers and the American ruling class, but they have also written touching songs about depression, solitude, and the redemptive power of love. One of their angriest songs is “Masses Against the Classes”, which was released as a single right around Y2K. I’m personally quite conflicted about the Occupy protests that have sprouted up across North America; I’m looking forward to hearing how the Manics feel about them.
Finally, it’s Remembrance Day, so it’s only fitting to include a Roger Waters song that deals with his personal anger at the uselessness of war. The final record he made with Pink Floyd was called The Final Cut, and the themes revolve around his disapproval of Thatcher’s Falklands war. My favourite song from this album is called “The Gunner’s Dream”. The music is melancholy and frustrated, and the lyric is wonderfully descriptive. The song sounds a bit dated in some ways, but the sentiment is timeless and universal.