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Subversive Wrock: Using the power of a story to influence the world

Tue, Dec 6, 2016

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One of the most amazing things about wizard rock is the sense of community and the diverse group of voices within the genre. As someone who’s been in the fandom since before I was even old enough to be in junior high, I can pretty safely say that wizard rock and the people involved in the community have been significant role models to me and have shaped my worldview considerably.

Growing up in a very conservative community, artists like Harry and the Potters and The Whomping Willows introduced me to values that I probably would otherwise not have discovered until much later in life. I did not realize how significant this introduction was until this election cycle, when I was going through playlists to find songs that related not only to the struggles of the wizarding world, but those that related to the struggles our country is facing right now.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of songs that highlight progressive values and activism and will make you feel a little bit of hope even though these days are dark.

Cornelius Fudge is an Ass – Harry and the Potters

This is the mother of all subversive wrock songs. Taken out of Harry and the Potters’ tour rotation for the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, it recently made a comeback because of the outcome of this election cycle. The song can be taken as an allegory to a George W. Bush or Donald Trump presidency, and when on tour, Paul and Joe often change the lyrics to “Fox News” or “Breitbart” to reflect that.

Lyric spotlight: “You can convince yourself that the Daily Prophet has a clue/But I think that the Quibbler has a better grip on the truth”

I Believe in Nargles – The Whomping Willows

This is an empowering jam for any activist – or anyone who does things a little out of the ordinary. When the real-life Death Eaters get you down, you can remember what Matt says about Luna in this song, the message is more relevant now than ever and is a call to action for anyone a little apprehensive to make their voices heard in a bigger way.

Lyric spotlight: “You’ve got a voice and it’s imperative to use it/You’ve got a heart to know what’s right and choose it/You were an all-star when you kicked it with the DA/No one can blame you fighting Death Eaters your own way”

Yes All Witches – Tonks and the Aurors

This feminist anthem is great for any witch or wizard fighting for gender equality. In times where women’s rights are being threatened more than ever, this song has a message that should be shouted from the rooftops – or put on any self-respecting wizard rock playlist.

Lyric spotlight: “We’re not about world domination, just equal representation/We are the voice of a generation, let me hear you Hogwarts nation/If you wanna be a badass witch…become a feminist!”

Save the Quibbler – Gred and Forge

With the rise of fake news and the influence the media in general has had on politics both on the United States and abroad, independent and ethical media has taken on a position of importance, just like it did in the Harry Potter novels. With the tight control and massive criticism Donald Trump has had over the mainstream media throughout the last year or so, it is more important than ever that we save our real life Quibblers and stand for the truth.

Lyric spotlight: “They’re not telling the truth, here’s what we’re gonna do/Save the Quibbler from the Ministry’s reach/Make your voice heard, get on your feet/We lose our power when we lose our voice/We’re not gonna let The Daily Prophet make your choice”

(not gonna put on) The Monkey Suit – Harry and the Potters

Yet another gem from Harry and the Potters, this one has came back into the spotlight as a #NotMyPresident anthem. Originally written about Rufus Scrimgeour and his efforts to use Harry as a political puppet for an ideology and message he doesn’t stand for, it gains new relevance after this election.

Lyric spotlight: “You want us as your pin-up stooge for policies that we won’t approve/We’re Dumbledore’s man, through and through and our loyalty lies with the truth”

Eff the Ministry – Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills

Here’s another great stick it to the man song, and it’s on the Wizards and Muggles Rock for Social Justice Vol. 2 compilation. It gives an in-depth explanation of the political situation in the wizarding world during the second war, and it sounds eerily similar to some of the proposals that have been thrown around during this election cycle. Not only does this song explain the situation, it also talks about getting up and taking tangible action… and you’ve gotta admit, the screams of “Eff the Ministry!” make the song even better.

Lyric spotlight: “You torture all the kids and you’re tellin’ them not to tell lies/Imprisoning the ones who are innocent, you put ’em away without trial/You benefit the rich and famous, who control the policy and practice”

Potterwatch – The Basilisk in Your Pasta

The Basilisk in Your Pasta is well-known in the fandom for their clever lyrics that not-so-subtly reference progressive values and the state of French politics, and this song is no exception. This song is both a rallying cry and a message of comfort, and it’s a great add to your musical self-care routine.

Lyric spotlight: “Come on Muggle-borns, purebloods and squibs, gather up/Forget all your old quarrels and fight your prejudice/’Cause when you’re not united you want to give up/Together we can try to overcome darkness”

Rise Above – Hawthorn and Holly

This song appeared in the Wizards and Muggles Rock for Social Justice Vol. 3 compilation, and it’s all about making choices and being true to yourself. Referencing many characters, including Dobby, Snape and Dumbledore, the song gives great advice for anyone struggling with their identity or circumstances.

Lyric spotlight: “Don’t be afraid of who you are/Be true to yourself and follow your heart and you will rise above/Don’t be afraid to take a chance/Don’t become a victim of your circumstance, you’ve gotta rise above”

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This post was written by:

- who has written 3 posts on Wizrocklopedia.

I was that 10-year-old kid who disobeyed her parents, went on the Internet without supervision, and discovered wizard rock on Myspace in 2006 and never looked back. I'm currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin majoring in communications, and I couldn't be more excited to be writing for the 'pedia!

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