SS211 Unit 6 Assignment : Protest Songs from 1960 and 2000

Protest Songs from 1960 and 2000

Unit 6 Assignment

Kaplan University

Protest Songs from 1960 and 2000

The purpose of this paper is to do a textual analysis of a protest song from the 1960’ss and a recent one from this day and age. So many songs have been written and sung over the years that protest war, violence and many other issues that plague America today. The two I choose even though they were written many years apart, they have a similarity. To me this shows that times will change but protesting violence and war will never change and we all have one goal in mind, to have peace and unity in this world.

The first song I chose was Universal Soldier. This song was written by Buffy Sainte-Marie but sung by Donovan in 1965. It became an anthem for the activist movement against Vietnam war. (Aloisio, Francesca, 2015). “Because we can’t blame just the soldier for the war, or just the career military officer, or just the politician. We have to blame ourselves too since we are living in an era where we actually elect our politicians.” (Sainte-Marie, Buffy, 2009).


He’s five foot-two, and he’s six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.

He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen,

He’s been a soldier for a thousand years.

He’s a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.

And he knows he shouldn’t kill,

And he knows he always will,

Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he’s fighting for Canada,
He’s fighting for France,

He’s fighting for the USA,

And he’s fighting for the Russians,

And he’s fighting for Japan,

And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And he’s fighting for Democracy,
He’s fighting for the Reds,

He says it’s for the peace of all.

He’s the one who must decide,

Who’s to live and who’s to die,

And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Labau?

Without him Caesar would have stood alone,

He’s the one who gives his body

As a weapon of the war,

And without him all this killing can’t go on.

He’s the Universal Soldier and he is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,

They come from here and there and you and me,

And brothers can’t you see,

This is not the way we put an end to war.

(copyright @ Universal Music Publishing Group, n.d)

Textual Analysis:

My second choice of protest songs from the 2000’s is by System of a Down called Boom. It was listed one of the most potent contributions to the protest movement. It is about the links between corporate greed with weapon manufacturing to the determent of society. This group is from Glendale, Ca and one member went to school with my husband. They are Arminian as my husband is and Glendale is prominent Middle Eastern town and believe it or not they are a Christian rock band. In this song of SOAD they speak the words until they chorus of Boom, Boom, Boom which is sung. Each member takes a verse to speak.

  1. Word Repetitions: He is used over and over in this song which “he” represents the Universal Soldier. It focuses us as the listener that this “he” is any soldier fighting for us and we put “him” there. It was not a choice “he” made.
  2. Metaphors and Analogies: In this song, he sings “He’s the one who gives his body as a weapon of war” but it does not mean his body is literally a gun or knife or missile. What it means is his body is used to defend and protect us.
  3. Transitions: The song flow from the description of the solider to his religious beliefs to who he fighting for to why he is fighting and how it will not resolve the problem.

Boom! By System of a Down (SOAD)

I’m walking through your streets
Where all your money’s earning

Where all your buildings crying

And clueless neckties working

Revolving fake lawn houses

Housing all your fears

Desensitized by T.V.

Overbearing advertising
God of consumers

And all your crooked pictures looking good

Mirrors filtering information through the public eye

Designed for profit sharing

Your neighbor, what a guy

Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb

You kill the god your child has born

Boom, Boom, Boom,

Modern globalization
Coupled with condemnations

Unnecessary death

Matador corporations

Puppeting your frustrations with a blinded flag
Manufacturing consent is the name of the game

The bottom line is money nobody gives a fuck

4000 hungry children
Leave us per hour from starvation

While billions are spent on bombs

Creating death showers

Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb

You kill the god your child has born

Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb

You kill the god your child has born

Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb

You kill the god your child has born

Why must we kill our own kind?

Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb

You kill the god your child has born

Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb

You kill the god your child has born

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom
Every time you drop the bomb

(Copyright Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)

Textual Analysis:

Compare of the two songs:

  1. Word Repetitions: “Boom, Boom, Boom” is used over and over to grab your attention and get the point across about what happens every time you hear that sound. The next is “every time you drop a bomb” that is another attention grabber used.
  2. Metaphors and Analogies: In one part of the song it states “creating death showers”. This does not literally mean you take a shower and die what they are saying is these bombs and weapons create death, like rain pouring down on us.
  3. Transition: The song flows along a story of how people’s pockets are lined with the money made from weapons and what effect it has on us a society. It gives corporate workers nice homes but corrupts our TV’s and our children to unnecessary death to globalization.
  4. Although both songs seem so different they are very similar in facts. In Universal Soldier, it is about the soldier himself while Boom is about the weapons being manufactured for the soldier to use. Both use repeated words and metaphors to get the main point across which is weapons and war need to stop, they solve nothing but create more problems. They both transition from the beginning of a story to what will happen in the end. In both songs, they show what happens during war. The weapons makers get rich; the soldier’s get the weapons and in the end people die and nothing gets solved. I would say that both songs represent a protest to war and how it affects us all. It starts with government then to the weapon makers then to the soldiers then it affects us and our children and the way we perceive how to handle matters in life. Fighting is not always the best resolution to a disagreement.

    In conclusion both songs represent the violence and destruction our country was and is going through. Although the year and way of life may differ from 1960 to 2000 the views on war and destruction have not changed. Each song gives likeness to the other just in a different sound and view to fit the current times.

    Reference Page:

    Ref: Universal Soldier, 2015. Meaning of the lyrics. Retrieved from:

    Ref: Boom, 2000-2016. System of a Down Lyrics. Retrieved from: