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Old School Friday: Political/Socio-Political Songs

99 Luftballoons was a song that spoke upon political hysteria (much like what we experience today). It was about a woman and a friend purchasing 99 red balloons in a store and setting them free ... just because.

Well, the balloons show up as UFOs on military radar and set off a political panic, which in turn causes a red alert for nuclear war. Initially, I had no idea what the song was about since I'd first heard it in German (back in the day I fell in love with the beat first), but once the English version was released, it stayed on my favorites list for quite some time.

Nena: 99 Red Balloons

Most people know UB40 for their hit "Red, Red Wine," but the group has written several socio-political songs touching upon various ills of society. One of my favorites is their cut "One In Ten" which touches upon the singer's ire at being a statistic of Britain's unemployment rate.


I am the one in ten
A number on a list
I am the one in ten
Even though I don`t exist
Nobody knows me
Even though i`m always there
A statistic, a reminder
Of a world that doesn`t care

UB40: One In Ten

**Bonus:** For the new school people, please check out the always politically correct (or incorrect however you view it), Dr. Cornel West & BMWMB (Black Men Who Mean Business).

Just a taste of what you'll find on his CD Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations which is a must for any collection.

Dr. Cornel West & BMWMB

And I'm out! ;-)

Check out other Old School Friday posts by:

Regina | Celeb-Blitz | Marcus LANGFORD | MrsGrapevine | The Marvalus View | LaKeshia | Invisible Woman | Electronic Village | Miscellaneous Matters | Over Analyze It | The Punkin Patch | Sojourners Place | There Already | Dallas South | Fresh and Fab | irigal | Lisa C Writes | The True Urban Queen | Songs In The Key Of Life | What Would Thembi Do? | Wonderland or Not


  1. Great picks Shae-Shae! I'm an 80s baby and I loved 99 Luft Balloons. I knew UB40 mostly for Red Red Wine, thanks for introducing me to there more political music. That Cornel West song is pretty good too.

    Happy OSF!

  2. Hey Kim!

    I had to put my jam 99 Red Balloons. :-) UB40 has a lot of songs with political messages. Check'em out when you get a chance.

    Happy OSF.

  3. Happy OSF! I learn new things all the time. I had not heard any of the 3 songs you've shared. Thank you very much for the songs and the explanation...

    peace, Villager

  4. Hey Shae!
    Great picks! I love 99 Luft Balloons and as a teen didn't know or really care what it was about I liked the beat, then I saw a vh1 segment on it and totally loved it!

    Have a great weekend!

  5. @Villager: I'm glad you liked them. You schooled me too so I'm glad I could return the favor. ;-)

    @Regina: As soon as I heard the beat I was hooked. Once I knew what the song meant, I was a fan.

  6. I have always found that foreign bands, especially Europeans, create very political and socially-charged songs because most of them are so oppressed by their own government and it causes them to make rebellious music. It sends a strong message nonetheless and in the end, everyone is just trying to be heard.

    :::Marcus LANGFORD:::

  7. Oohh, you got me I have never heard this song, but it's nice. I think I like it, it sounds like Dido...

    UB40, wasn't a big fan, but I love Cornell West.

    You definitely brought some originals to the game...Thanks...

  8. You're right Marcus. I wish we had more music that shows our appreciation for the freedom that we do have, otherwise we'd be writing more songs like these.

  9. MrsG I guess she does sound a bit like Dido doesn't she? Good call. :-)


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