For as long as music has been around, there have been musicians who’ve used it to express their political beliefs. Since the advent of the music video, artists have been able to further their message, crystalizing their positions by their matching politically-charged lyrics with striking visual images. As the U.S. Presidential campaign finally (finally!) approaches its end, here’s a look at some of the most powerful politically-themed music videos which focus on issues that are still quite relevant. From protest songs to no-holds-barred commentary on the state of our society, these are the videos that stay with you long after they end.
Just a heads up: many of these videos are NSFW.
Jeremy — Pearl Jam
The titular Jeremy in this Mark Pellington-directed Pearl Jam video is a tragic figure out of time whose issues with emotional isolation, bubbling anger, and self-harm are recognizable and, to some, relatable now more than ever. As are the dizzying headlines at the start of the video about children getting shot, tortured, and preyed upon sexually. Credit Pellington and then-child actor Trevor Wilson with amplifying a powerful song and solidifying a message that, sadly, still isn’t getting through to some parents and educators.
Eddie Vedder’s expressive facial contortions and back-and-forth rocking while howling is also present and unforgettable, there’s just no lesson to be learned from them. — Jason