Protest Song of the Day: ‘Under the Bridge’ by Jill Sobule with John Doe
To recognize the power of protest music, acknowledge its role in keeping dissent alive and how musicians are translating today’s social issues and systemic problems into song, The Dissenter has decided to launch a daily feature that highlights a protest song every day.
More Americans filed jobless claims last week than forecast. In other words, the United States economy continues to lay people off and there just are no jobs for some people.
Singer-songwriter Jill Sobule & John Doe recorded a song called, “Under the Bridge.” The song tells the story of a person who finds out the shop where they work is closing in two weeks. “So take the pencils/And the paper clips/Cause that will be your only parting gifts.” Come down under the bridge where all the unemployed are waiting because they cannot afford to live anymore and this is the only place they can go, Sobule sings.
Of course, a jobless person does not have to live under a bridge just yet except, as Sobule details in the next verse, “Then you got the notice/You got to leave your home/Down by the highway/At least you’re not alone/No one will buy the record/No one will buy this song/But you can join the chorus/And we’ll all sing along.”
The song, wrought with irony, makes homelessness sound like an opportunity for everyone to be jubilant. It makes one think of Occupy camps, which were filled with people saddled with debt, who were possibly fighting foreclosure or who were unemployed and living on the streets. Though the song was written and recorded before the Occupy movement ignited, Sobule dedicated this song “to all the good folks pitching tents at OWS,” and explained when writing this song she imagined a “hobo town filled with destitute artists, students and working-class stiffs banding together,” which sounds like Occupy.
It appears on Occupy This Album. Here’s the song:
The Dissenter will be putting one of these up every weekday morning. If you have suggestions for songs that should be featured or if you recorded a song you think should be featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.