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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Old Man’ By Stella Donnelly

*The following was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.

Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly recently released “Old Man”, the first single off her upcoming debut full-length album, “Beware of the Dogs,” available on March 8, 2019.

In many ways, the song covers similar themes as “Boys Will Be Boys,” which was on her debut EP, “Thrush Metal.” Both tunes deal with issues popularized by the #MeToo movement and the need to tear down toxic patriarchal ideals.

“I came up with the chords and chorus to this song in 2017 around the time when Woody Allen called the #MeToo movement a witch hunt,” Donnelly stated in a press statement. “It was a very strange feeling for me watching the world change right before my eyes and to see that these men, who had exploited their power for so long, were actually being held accountable for their actions.”

Lyrics such as, “We sat there silently while you kept your job. And your place and your six-figure wage” highlight the current reckoning taken place. Survivors, who were formerly silent, are now speaking out. The systematic structures that gave the powerful cover are collapsing.

The chorus poses the potent questions, “Oh, are you scared of me, old man? Or are you scared of what I’ll do?” It then adds the stinging denouncement, “You grabbed me with an open hand. The world is grabbin’ back at you.”

The fact that women are empowered to speak up not only gives past survivors an opportunity to seek long-awaited justice, but Donnelly also highlights that it is the survivors speaking out, who will help protect the future for younger women (“Cause it’s our words that’ll keep our daughters safe”).

Lasting change only happens when the powerful are held accountable. Donnelly plays her part by adding this song to efforts to ensure the downfall of those, who abuse their authority.


CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music: ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest