Protest Song Of The Week: ‘America Back’ by Jill Sobule
Jill Sobule’s song, “America Back,” was performed at rallies for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, and it has been part of her repertoire for the past two to three years. It is now featured on a major crowd-funded protest songs compilation album that is forthcoming.
“America BacK” is a robust and upbeat folk song that zeroes in on the absurdity of a large segment of the American population, who frankly choose not to grapple with the history of genocide, exclusion, and injustice in this country because they are more comfortable clinging to white supremacy—even if that brand of supremacy is not as vicious and out in the open as it was five or six decades ago.
Sobule sings, “When they say we want our America back/Our America back/Our America back/When they say we want our America back/Well what the fuck do they mean?”
The verses of the song cheekily romanticize the origin of man and the early days of America, as white conservative Republicans might do. They long for the days of Adam and Eve, way before any settlers sailed to the United States. They long for a time when, even though there were immigrants, “life had a paler shade of white.”
The Statue of Liberty in this white conservative historical tale is a whore, who invites all manner of immigrants that they do not want in the country.
When Sobule and the band hit the chorus, they snap out of their white conservative nostalgic fantasy and directly blast anyone who believes this shit.
On September 1, a music video for the song was released. The arrangement in the music video is somewhat new, with horns now punctuating the chorus.
The music video is well-produced and features robotic characters animated to act out scenes described or alluded to in the song’s verses.
“America Back” is part of a larger project called “My Song Is My Weapon” that is still in development. The artists involved hope it will be a “virtual square” for people to “express themselves in song, art, poetry, or plain old primal screams.” Those involved suggest it will be a digital update on the grand tradition of protest in America.
Linked to the creation of this platform is the release of an album called, “Monster Protest Jamz Vol. 1,” which features Tom Morello, Wayne Kramer, Todd Rundgren, Loudon Wainwright, Margaret Cho, Billy Bragg, Richard Thompson, Harry Shearer, Jamie Kilstein, and others, including this song from Jill Sobule. Think of it as protest music finally getting their own “Now That’s What I Call Music” series (except corporate radio won’t play this music so that’s why they really need people to support the project in order to keep it going).
Listen and watch “America Back”:
For a full playlist with all the “Protest Songs Of the Week” that are available on YouTube, go here.
Are you an independent artist who has written and/or produced a protest song that you would like featured? Or do you have a favorite protest song? Submit a song to protestmusic@Shadowproof.com