Green Day’s album “American Idiot,” a roaring pop-punk assault on the “redneck agenda” and the warped discourse of post-9/11 America, went to Number 1 on the charts, won a Grammy in 2005 for best rock album and has sold more than 5 million copies.
The Nation magazine notes that just as Bob Dylan moved the Vietnam era, many modern-day acts are eloquently calling for change in America.
There may never be another Bob Dylan. But there will always be protest music of the sort that first endeared Dylan to a mass audience, and that confirmed the power of song to move not just a generation but a nation. Dylan was not the first protest singer; indeed, a good deal of his early Dust Bowl-poet persona derived from Woody Guthrie. And as his more overtly political compatriot Phil Ochs noted in the mid-1960s, Dylan was never comfortable in any movement, a fact that eventually led him to shed his topical-songwriter trappings to become the mythical character that Richard Goldstein examines on page 11. But the artful approach to political songwriting that Dylan pioneered remains an inspiration to today’s musicians. And what they sing and say still matters, as the first skirmish of the Iraq War—the frontal assault on the dissenting Dixie Chicks after their lead singer criticized George W. Bush—confirmed….