Students Share Topical Songs of Modern Politics

Students Share Topical Songs of Modern Politics

by Bekah Ervin

news editor

Topical songs, often written to a simple tune, are songs about social, political or economic issues. A topical song can be one of the greatest ways to reach an audience about a specific issue. Dr. Henry Svec teaches a freshman course on the subject called Connections: Bob Dylan. Commonly known for his protest songs, Dylan is a great example of an artist whose topical tracks have remained popular decades after their release. According to Svec, “[He] took familiar melodies and melded them with the pressing issues of the day, including racism, class exploitation, censorship, and war-mongering…this kind of writing remains a fascinating model for anyone interested in making politically engaged art.”

Svec recently had some of the students in the Bob Dylan course write their own topical songs about the subject of their choice. Unsurprisingly, all students chose to write songs about the current political happenings in our nation.

Here are just a couple to give you a taste of student perspectives of current politics:

“The Ballad of the Republican Party” (to the tune of “Old McDonald”)
by Adria Walker and Bekah Ervin

Ben Carson wouldn’t leave the stage
He just stood there in an awkward way


With a creepy smile here
And a lack of motive there
Here a lack
There a lack
Everywhere a lack, lack

Ben Carson wouldn’t leave the stage

Then Trump he did follow suit
Can we please give Trump the boot?

— (spoken) Please clap (a reference to Jeb Bush begging for support at a recent rally)

“Ode to Trump”
by Rebecca Falls, Ryan Grace, Cole Layton and Hayden Williams

Headed to the rally, here we go
It’s gonna be quite a show
Trump’s in town and the border is shut down

You better watch out
You better not cry
He’s putting up a wall
So no one’s getting by

We’ve been here since two, it’s like a zoo
It’s all we can bear to not say anything about his hair

So we head in the crowd and all we smell is loud
Because the actor is in town

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Bekah Ervin

I am a member of the Class of 2019 at Millsaps College in the capital city of Mississippi. I am from just outside of Memphis, Tennessee and am very excited to get to know my new home away from home.

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