Top 10 Protest or Socially Conscious Songs from the ‘80s – Lives in the Balance by Jackson Browne

Lives in the Balance by Jackson Browne

by Robert Mishou

I did not know much about Jackson Browne other than his song “Somebody’s Baby” from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. Then a friend talked me going to Denver to see Browne. I was skeptical, but fell in love with his music. He is a great songwriter and this song is the most biting on this list so far. Browne does not pull any punches:

You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you’ve seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war
There’s a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interests run

I do not think much explanation is needed here. Many times these protest songs carry plenty of weight with the lyrics, but the chorus is seen as less important and does not have that typical catchy chorus feel. This, though has both meaning and a catchy sound:

And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Simple, yet effective. This type of in your face protest song bothers some people. While I understand why this is, I like to think that we need these type of songs to get us to reexamine our beliefs and policies. Things might not change, but they might if change is needed.

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