Music played a huge role during the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 in Nigeria. Across protest grounds, music boosted the morale of the crowds, inspiring the masses to demand changes in Nigerian policing.

A video posted on Twitter of a man, later identified as Joshua Ambrose, being thrown out of a moving vehicle by SARS (or Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian police force) officers in Ughelli, a rural town in southern Nigeria, prompted the protests after it went viral.The now-defunct SARS — created to combat the widespread robbery and kidnappings of the 80s — had become notorious for harassing, brutalizing, and extorting young Nigerians for their appearance or for the gadgets they carried, sometimes even profiling them as internet fraudsters.

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Music Features

Here Are 6 Punjabi Songs That Support India's Farmers

Want to know what's going on with India's controversial farming laws? Here are six Punjabi songs that tell you exactly what millions of farmers think about the new laws.

Punjabi Singer Diljit Dosanjh sits with fellow singers and protesters at New Delhi's border.

Rafiq Maqbool/AP/Shutterstock

In 2020, India's grassroots agricultural movement blossomed to become the largest protest in human history — and it's still going on.

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Bad Religion's "Age of Unreason" Proves the World Still Needs Punk

The punk rock legends answer the call to make protest music in an increasingly unjust and backwards world.

Bad Religion Age of Unreason - Epitaph Records


Bad Religion is one of the founding fathers of modern punk rock.

No, punk is still not dead. Nor is it just a soundtrack to teenage angst. Bad Religion is back, and they're picking up right where they left off—with three-part harmonies soaring over aggressive d-beat drums and rapid-fire power chords propping up smart lyrics that invite listeners to challenge all forces of oppression, idiocy, and injustice that plague the world. If Donald Trump's presidency has been good for anything, it's that it's given Bad Religion more than enough material and anger for a new record that sits comfortably among the 16 others that comprise the band's discography.

Age of Unreason is the band's first full-length album in six years. They were relatively quiet during the time of the Obama administration, partially because the urgency of the political moment was, comparatively speaking, not as palpable. And partially because the members of the group were all taking on their own endeavors. Guitarist Brett Gurewitz became the owner of Epitaph Records, lead vocalist Greg Graffin furthered his careers in academia and writing, and guitarist Brian Baker kept busy touring with Dag Nasty and others. But as the world began to unravel all around them, they knew it was high time to get back into the studio and speak out.

In an interview for Louder Sound, Brian Baker addresses the band's hiatus: "We haven't recorded a record in over five years, which is a reasonably long lapse of time for Bad Religion […] But the good news is that in those five years we've managed to see such unbelievable world changes, as a result of the chaotic new governmental situation that affects, seemingly, almost every country in the world, that there's plenty of information and plenty of things to write about […] Traditionally, Bad Religion's job is to identify social trends that could use realignment, speaking up for the general idea of good versus evil. So here we are."

And following in the tradition of what Bad Religion has always done so well, Age of Unreason is an album that confronts, unflinchingly, some of the most troubling social trends of these uniquely precarious times. The album begins, in classic punk fashion, with an explosion of breakneck drums leading seamlessly into the gritty and angry opening four chords of "Chaos from Within." Before the first 10 seconds of the track fly by, the band quickly sweeps you away with those epically lush three-part vocal harmonies that have become part and parcel of the Bad Religion's signature sound. "Cowering like settlers on someone else's land," they sing, "Mistaking advances of the natives / Who have come to lend a hand." This is exactly how a Bad Religion album should begin—angry, melodic, and in your face with political discourse.

The rest of the album doesn't waver much from the high level of energy established by that first song. Age of Unreason is a quintessentially Bad Religion album, through and through. All 14 songs and 33-and-a-half minutes of this politically dense (but youthfully catchy) punk album showcase the band at its best. This is an honest and effective effort from a band that has transcended the old punk anxiety of "selling out." Anytime a legendary or germinal band puts out new music for the first time in almost a decade, there is always going to be at least a little bit of a concern surrounding motivation. Old rock bands putting out bloated or generic songs as quick and easy cash-grabs in an era of fetishized nostalgia is nothing new. But this is not at all the case with Age of Unreason. Bad Religion is not simply churning out recycled punk riffs or vague, cliched appeals to rebellion in order to capitalize on their legacy; they are making new protest music for a new time.

In the aforementioned interview, Baker adds, "I'm not trying to reach a new audience in a commercial sense at all […] But I think an accurate statement might be trying to reach new ears. The point of all of this is to try to initiate discussion and to try to encourage people who hear a Bad Religion song to figure out, 'Where does that come from?'"

Age of Unreason is pretty much par for the course for Bad Religion—short of a slightly folkier sound on "Candidate" and a few tracks that slow things down a little more than usual—there isn't a whole lot of evolution to be seen. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. There is definitely something to be said for a group striking a consistently powerful and effective sound—especially when the music is as vitally important as Bad Religion's. On Age of Unreason, Bad Religion proves that the familiar can be just as revolutionary as the innovative, and reminds us that sometimes our new problems are just old problems in different masks.

Age Of Unreason

Dustin DiPaulo is a writer and musician from Rochester, New York. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University and can most likely be found at a local concert, dive bar, or comedy club (if he's not getting lost somewhere in the woods).

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READY TO POP | The Night Game, Whitney Road & More Offer Protest Songs

Also, Amos Lee and Drunken Logic Throw Their Hats in the Ring with Sometimes Angry but Always Insightful Protests

The Night Game

Now is not the time to stay silent.

Ready to Pop is relinquishing the role pop music so often plays in escapism and distraction. Instead, the latest lineup of tunes addresses the elephant in the room in the boiling socio-political environment. We don't have to say it; you already know. But the war is raging as hot as ever, and if we aren't careful, we'll be swallowed whole. Below, check out our latest obsessions, rated on a (slay) scale of "Super Chill" to "Shook" to "Wig Snatched."

The Night Game - "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

We are standing in the eye of a hurricane, but The Night Game isn't going to let the serene but momentary status make us unconcerned or unwilling to see what is looming outside our very small corner of the world. Instead, the electro-pop genius' updated version of this R.E.M. classic (a one-off separate from his just-released debut self-titled record) feels eerily relevant, and even though the lyrics "team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped" was imagined three decades ago, it's never been more cutting. The way lead singer Martin Johnson punches on "trump" can't be just a coincidence. In 2018, it stands for rebellion and protesting the severity and brutality of the world.

Slay Scale: Shook

Follow The Night Game on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Amos Lee - "Crooked"

Ok, so, maybe Amos Lee "popped" a long time ago. But his song "Crooked," off his new album My New Moon, taps into the urgency and unease rippling across this once-fair nation right now in this moment. We can't ignore it. "There's a crooked leader on a crooked stage," he observes. "But he seems to think he's standing tall..." As he makes not untrue statements about the leader of the free world, he comes closer to understanding his own place within such a terrible, eviscerating world. Is he crooked, too?

Slay Scale: Wig Snatched

Follow Amos Lee on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Drunken Logic - "Alone in America"

It's painfully obvious: We don't get to sit on the sidelines anymore. Since the swearing in of 45, this nation has boiled over with hate and bigotry the likes of which we haven't seen as clearly as right now. Indie-rock mind-bender Drunken Logic pulls no punches with a new song called "Alone in America," in which he sculpts a pounding and insightful story of one woman coming to realize her place in this tragic wasteland. The drums puncture the skin; his voice is frank but towering; and you may even reassess exactly what you are or are not doing to help.

Slay Scale: Shook

Follow Drunken Logic on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Whitney Road - "Kings Highway"

Folk band Whitney Road scrawls a tale of tragedy about a King and a Queen and the lies "that have all been sold." Fashioned in a fairy-tale style, there is a certain accessibility and care bound in the lyrics and harmony work. It's as ghostly as it is lilting, framing the tragedy as a narrator on a barren stage. The insight is packed in their rich poeticism, but the farcical characters and our inescapable reality come into a much clearer view.

Slay Scale: Super Chill

Follow Whitney Road on Facebook

Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.

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