As the corporate establishment wreaks havoc on democracy and the greedy financiers ruin economies causing a worldwide employment crisis, one would expect there to be an insurgence of protest music coming up through the musical art form. The 60’s and its time of social change was midwifed by a bevy of musical artists, all addressing the problems of the times within their music.
Yet, today with the stakes so dire, our popular music seems to only speak of relationships, hooking up and going out drinking and dancing. There is no message in most of today’s music.
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello has stepped up to fill this gap with his project, The Nightwatchmen. On the project’s new CD World Wide Rebel Songs, Morello channels the vibe of 60’s protest songs with acoustic guitar and harmonica. All the songs speak of challenging the status quo and regaining our freedom. It’s a folk song vibe; yet, Morello brings the electric guitar in for this Nightwatchman album and gives us some classic Morello guitar rifts as well.
“It Begins Tonight” is the stand out track on the album with angry guitar rifts and a wailing Morello guitar solo in the middle. Morello growls about revolution singing, “Let’s move tonight and take the throne.”
The title track “World Wide Rebel Songs” is a feel good call to action. “Where there’s voices raised and barricades, believe me, man, I’m down,” Morello sings. “Tyrants, blood suckers and bag man got us picking through the crumbs.” With a rocking harmonica solo, Morello challenges us all, “Are you gonna stand around or are you gonna be free?”
A few of the tracks are moving ballads, the most affecting being the closing prayer, “God Help Us All,” the Nightwatchman leaves us with. In the album’s most poignant moment, Morello sings “God Help Us All cause we are all that we feared.”
The Nightwatchman gives hope and shines a light that hopefully will encourage others to stand up and protest. Freedom’s greatest enemy will always be the apathy of the masses.