3 November 2020, 16:38. The Song Sommelier, a website dedicated to the curating of playlists recently published both a now and then playlist of protest music. Gone, but not forgotten, the issues he advanced and the causes that he fought for still resonate long after his passing. Today's Commercial-Free Genre: Adult Rock ... Protest Songs From Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen -- voices calling for change . This cover of an old Pete Seeger tune was one of the many hits off the trio’s self-titled 1962 debut album. War Pigs - Black Sabbath 8. Those lost verses criticize wealth inequality and extremist capitalism. Today, protest songs continue to flood out from singers and songwriters old and new. Donate. —Tyler Kane, The song, meant as a salve during one of the most divisive times in American history (present day circumstance notwithstanding), was a populist take on a folk song written by Dino Valenti, later of Quicksilver Messenger Service. No song better captured the rage at the heart of protests against Laquan McDonald’s 2014 killing by ex-police officer Jason Van Dyke, and Chicago officials’ seeming cover-up. —Lee Zimmerman, By 1967, Jefferson Airplane had shifted its flight path dramatically, moving away from the folk sounds that inspired them early on into the realms of psychedelia and the bold embrace of the Summer of Love. Along with the two playlists is an informative write-up which contained thoughts on the socially conscious music represented by the 2019 Mercury Prize nominees. So, with nationwide protests and calls for change once again echoing across America, let’s reflect on some of the important protest songs that still stand the test of time in today… Here's 10 to listen to today. It is often chanted as BLM protests to capture pride in the face of incredible, unrelenting adversity. The song makes the point that borders are meaningless when it comes to those in the front lines, and that all those who fight their nation’s battles remain mere pawns in a futile struggle. The message in the oldest song on this list remains as powerful today as it did more than 75 years ago. You also may like: Pride Tracks. Fire, explosion at West Virginia chemical plant prompt warning for neighbors . He howls, “Some people say we’ve got a lot of malice / Some say it’s a lot of nerve / But I say we won’t quit moving until we get what we deserve.” It’s a sentiment still resonant today. The song was created after the group was forced by the police to lay down in the street with guns to their heads. Dancefloor anthems, diva ballads, Broadway show-stoppers and more. An appeal for unity in a polarized world, it offers the option of choosing love over hate, brotherhood rather than animosity, the impassioned refrain resonates even today. Where have all the protest songs gone? Though the band had been putting out amazing albums like Dig Me Out and One Beat before 2005, that year saw the release of their then-final record The Woods, their most sprawling and ambitious effort, yet. If you’re asking us ‘Where are the protest songs of today?’ ‘What are some pop songs about environmental issues?’ or even ‘What political protest song is most relevant today?’ we’d say Lil Dicky has done a pretty good job. ... it’s as meaningful in today’s troubled times as it was more than a half a century ago. Although Oberst performs the song solo acoustic, his rage, and those of America’s, is palpable. A video surfaced online showing a police officer pinning Floyd down with his knee for minutes until he could no longer breathe. —Bonnie Stiernberg, As Neil Young’s reaction to the killings of four students at Kent State University during a showdown with the Ohio State National Guard on May 4, 1970, the song resonates as a visceral reminder of the perils of protest, especially when facing an unflinching enemy. Browse All AccuRadio Genres-Advertisement-© 2014 AccuRadio LLC. Theatre on July 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. No! 2 Minutes to Midnight; 2 + 2 = ? Despite being aware of the danger of singing a song like this as black woman, Holiday sings “Strange Fruit” with unwavering bravery and intention, her emotive voice bolstering its timeless meaning. —Lee Zimmerman, Don’t let Australian-American Helen Reddy’s sweet voice wavering over an audibly-‘70s acoustic guitar strum fool you: “I Am Woman” is a fighting song. Songs of Protest : 2016 to Today November 3, 2020 As long as there has been conflict, as long as people have wanted change, music has been a way to express their feelings and share messages. Page 30 - 21 20 - 11 10 - 1 >> 30: 30. As the video nears the end, Queen Bey makes it a point to show a young Black boy dancing in front of police officers in riot gear. From Beyoncé to Tupac, music figures have made profound statements calling for much-needed change in regards to race relations, class, police brutality and the many layers that come with these matters. ADVERTISEMENT. If you want to check out a recorded version of this article, head to the Welcome Home podcast. As with the previous months, there is also music that addresses issues of systemic racism, police brutality, and a variety of other social concerns. The song is vocally percussive, yet smooth and swaying; its bold lyrics are both timely for the era, yet utterly timeless in an age where Black Lives Matter. Where are the lyrics that can unite us, inspire us, and help move us forward? This song, culled from that set, was originally written by Crosby and usurped by McGuinn and Hillman over Crosby’s objections. The 11 songs below all deal with very different issues, but their greatness lies in the fact that each still seems intensely relevant today. Patti Smith. 13 Best Protest Songs Of All Time. HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: Beyoncé attends the premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at Dolby ... [+] Theatre on July 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Every major movement in American history has been accompanied by its own collection of protest songs, from slave emancipation to women's suffrage, the labor movement, civil rights, the anti-war movement, the feminist movement, the environmental movement, etc. And that's okay. The MC concludes the visual with a smile despite the act of violence, indicating he still has hope for the future. 1. The original “This Land Is Your Land” is an anarchist hymn, Dylan’s “Masters of War” is as scathing and righteous today as it was then, “Ohio” by CSNY […] Because you celebrate Black culture does not mean that you don't like white culture or that you putting it down. Throughout the track, he frequently touches on how police have targeted the Black community, emphasizing that law enforcement will “pull the trigger” and then oddly be considered some sort of “hero.”. Billboard Hot 100 upon its debut, becoming the 31st song to … 8 Powerful Protest Songs Of Today’s Generation. Some might denounce that as exaggeration, but at minimum, music does have the power to stir emotions and bring attention to worthy causes. Frank July 18, 2015 Reply. Black Lives Matter Demonstrations In London, June 2020. Radical for the 1990s, the two-and-a-half-minute song still remains an anthem during these times of reassessing the notion of gender on a spectrum rather than a binary. Chuck D raps lyrics like, “You gotta go for what you know / Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be / Lemme hear you say fight the power.” The anti-racism song, which calls out government entities that perpetuate the system, later appeared on Public Enemy’s 1990 studio album Fear of a Black Planet. We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister 3. —Hilary Saunders, Years before Sly Stone’s drug addiction and enigmatic persona fully materialized, he was changing the way people viewed soul and pop music from a musical, cultural and racial standpoint. The Bronx-based group rapped verses about urban poor and inner city violence, culminating in the refrain, “It’s like a jungle sometimes / It makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” A standout track in its own right, “The Message” ultimately paved the way for future political raps from N.W.A. Kendrick Lamar’s visual for “Alright” uses a black and white aesthetic and thought-provoking poem to establish the tone of the concept video. Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land”. Artists Mentioned. / Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up / King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up.”. Billboard Hot 100 upon its debut, becoming the 31st song to do so in the history of the chart. The anthem was truly revolutionary for its time, pioneering free-speech in hip-hop music in the late ‘80s. —Lee Zimmerman, Inspired by an incident in which Cooke and his band were turned away from a white-only motel in Louisiana, Cooke wrote this song to bring attention to the struggles plaguing America in the sixties. A list by SadEyedLady [List99040] | | +2. ... “Fuck Tha Police” is the ultimate protest song performed by West Coast group N.W.A. Against Me!, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”, 36. Protest music has a very deeply rooted history in the United States and reaches back as far as American history reaches. A true lover of music, I cover all-things hip-hop. and Public Enemy. Phil Ochs, the Texan-born singer, self-described social democrat, and revolutionary, epitomized this. What Is Protest Music And Best Protest Songs. Today, protest songs continue to flood out from singers and songwriters old and new. 25. —Adam Nizam, Bikini Kill was of the most important feminist punk band of the riot grrrl movement. Where have all the protest songs gone? —Will Hodge, This Dylan-esque P.F. Indeed, that same question could be asked today. It's inspired by Rick Rogers, who runs… Sloan cover warned of the world’s demise back in 1965. She reiterates this point with her verses: “Don't touch my hair / When it's the feelings I wear / Don't touch my soul / When it's the rhythm I know / Don't touch my crown / They say the vision I've found / Don't touch what's there / When it's the feelings I wear.”, Ahead of its time, Tupac’s “Changes” reflects on racism, class, society and the harsh realities of unjust politics. “Entertain,” the first single from the album tackles feminism and media control, as well as a reference to 1984. —Lee Zimmerman, After the release of their debut album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables in 1980, Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra noticed that much of his lyrical satire was being taken literally as an influx of neo-Nazis started infiltrating their shows. Political songs tend to come in bunches, stemming from a major cultural incident that persuades the populace to rebel against their leaders. Oct 25, 2018 at 1:25 PM . Our country has seen this episode and heard this song too many times to repeat again. 1 and served its purpose, conveying a meaningful message that relief was needed to avoid further catastrophe. Top 30 Protest Songs . The interlude “Tina Taught Me” on Solange’s A Seat at the Table is a beautiful account of one’s love for their culture recited by Tina Knowles. Here, the songwriter gives every bit of grit she’s been known for with heartbreaking line after line: “You want them to notice/ The ragged ends of your summer dress/ You want them to see you like they see any other girl/ They just see a faggot/ They hold their breath not to catch the sick.” With an inbox stacked with albums retelling tales of lost love, sometimes recorded in cabins; or musings on the human condition; or on weirder days, food, Grace’s gutting honesty on this not-so-universal experience is the realest thing I’ve heard in…I really couldn’t tell you how long . All Rights Reserved, contemporary protest songs by people of color, 49. And a few little fancy frills,” she lists off, antsy for all the trendy fashions she’ll now be able to wear. Mike McHone. My extensive work in music, entertainment, and pop culture has appeared in Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Don’t (Just) Vote’ By Cass McCombs CJ Baker 2020-11-11 “We have to excise a malignant cancer from the body politic. “It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come,” Cooke promises, suggesting there’s light at the end of long tunnel. Through online fan communities and digital platforms like TikTok, popular music is finding powerful new ways to shape everyday activism, protest, and resistance. Share via Email. And in a time when climate change deniers still hold office, “Big Yellow Taxi” is more important that ever.” —Hilary Saunders, Released in 1982, “The Message” was one of the most important songs to elevate hip-hop to the platform of social commentary. Listen now Share. Soul Power . A true standard in every sense, it hit the top of the charts on its original release, and has been covered by scores of artists since, with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart among the many. Pages in category "Protest songs" The following 200 pages are in this category, out of approximately 455 total. —Lee Zimmerman, Written by Buffy Sainte-Marie but brought to prominence by Donovan during his early folkie phase, no single song better detailed the plight of the conscripted soldier or career mercenary than this mid ‘60s lament about the perils of war and the devastating effects it leaves in its wake. This song in particular, likely the band’s most recognized song, refutes heteronormative ideas and celebrates female solidarity. Crosby’s wails of “How many more?” convey the shock and horror in a palatable way. Because of this, we figured it was a good time to poll our readers and determine their favorite protest songs. Over the decades, protest songs have led the way, offering a powerful and passionate testimony to those suffering, while urging listeners to lend support and solidarity in response. Credence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son”, 11. —Max Blau, Initially banned from numerous radio stations, the ode to birth control broke down major barriers for women—enabling them to stand up for their reproductive rights in ways never before imagined. First Aid Kit. I don’t give a damn, next stop is Vietnam.” The band’s dark humor notwithstanding, it foretold the the doom and despair many a young conscripted soldier felt when their draft board summoned them for military service. Sung like the revered gospel song it is, it uses the popular imagery of a train to describe an evolution in attitude and action leading to greater glories for those who have been oppressed and pushed aside. Following the racial inequality protest marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, “Long Walk to D.C.” continues that momentum all the way to the capital. Much of the music released is either directly aimed at Trump or discusses the importance of voting. It defined its writer and singer as a champion of blue-collar resistance and put him on the front lines during those epic civil rights struggles of the ‘60s. Here are a few recent examples that uphold the tradition of musical political commentary. Listen Now. —Lee Zimmerman, Written in response to the bombing of a Birmingham church in 1963 that killed four young girls who were inside at the time, the song assured Fariña’s ascent in early ‘60s protest circles, a trajectory that found him rivaling Dylan in terms of his folk following. This song, as well as the rest of TPAB is rife with references of gangs, prison, institutional racism and unwarranted police violence. Childish Gambino uses imagery and symbols in “This Is America” to wake society up to the various discriminatory acts occurring on a daily basis. Lauren Alvarez Contributor. The protest song is not easily defined, but one thing that all of the songs on this list do have in common is a sense of urgency. Recorded countless times by others—Peter, Paul & Mary, for whom it was a hit, and his paramour Joan Baez in particular, it remains a battle cry in the struggle for change and enduring defiance. In fact, by 2002, the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. “It's such beauty in Black people, and it really saddens me when we're not allowed to express that pride in being Black, and that if you do, then it's considered anti-white. Impassive resistance: Protest songs for today. The viral hit even shot up to No. —Lee Zimmerman, The title track of Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues cuts right to the chase after Laura Jane Grace’s highly publicized tale of coming out as transgendered in 2012. ... 30: 30. It was essentially the first song in history to question popular music censorship and first amendment rights. The focus is on the acculturation process which has taken place in Calcutta, with a particular emphasis on The most striking part of the video is how the demonstrators are protesting on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, as that was the exact street many protested on to make their voices heard yesterday (May 30). Although musically rousing thanks to that sweet keyboard synth, the subversive lyrics actually tell a story about the Vietnam conflict and its lasting personal, political and industrial ramifications at home and in that “foreign land.” —Hilary Saunders, One of the leading groups of the early ‘60s, Peter, Paul and Mary took inspiration from old-timey folk groups and reinvigorated it with pop harmonies fitting for the day. 2016 will be a turning point in this country’s history… the question is… in which direction will we go?”. Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday 7. Their 1999 record The Battle of Los Angeles coincided with many politically tense events—Bill Clinton’s deregulation of Wall Street, the continued Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas and the WTO riots (or “The Battle In Seattle”) that sought to tear down corporate hegemony. One of the first racism protest songs to be recorded in popular music, 1939’s “Strange Fruit” is based off a poem written by Abel Meeropol. The old ballads are not known for being feminist anthems — far from it — but this one... “Killing in the Name” – Rage Against the Machine. In the 19th century, topical subjects for protest in song included abolition, slavery, poverty, and the Civil War among other subjects. “Tina Taught Me” Interlude and “Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange. A propulsive rocker, it’s uncertain whether Lowe or Costello intended it as a song of protest, but its opening lines—“As I walk through this wicked world / Searching for light in the darkness of insanity / I ask myself if all hope is lost / Is there only pain and hatred and misery?”—make it a poignant plea regardless. Features The Best Protest Songs In History: 10 Timeless Political Anthems. The hip-hop group interjects trial excerpts throughout the song to evoke the true nature of corruption that occurs too frequently in the justice system. Protest Song Of The Week: ‘America The Merciful’ By Zealot Featuring Uno October 14, 2020. More Channels From Sounds of Protest . Little Steven & Artists Against Apartheid, “Sun City”, 29. The Woody, the Dylan, the ’60s counterculture pop hits, the singularly chilling “Strange Fruit” — I love them all. Because of this, we figured it was a good time to poll our readers and determine their favorite protest songs. Childish Gambino’s provocative “This Is America” visual immediately begins showing the musician dancing and pulling a gun on an anonymous person. 1 hit. As Lamar sings on “Alright”, “When you know, we been hurt, been down before, nigga/ When our pride was low, lookin’ at the world like, ‘Where do we go, nigga?’/And we hate po-po, wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga / I’m at the preacher’s door / My knees gettin’ weak and my gun might blow, but we gon’ be alright.” —Alexa Peters, I once had an in-class debate with the program director of my graduate school course about whether or not “Born in the U.S.A.” is a protest song. Give them three chords and they'll give you the truth. The visual is also in black-and-white — similar to Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” — and contains images of helicopters and tense interactions with cops. Country Joe and the Fish, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag (The Fish Cheer)”, 23. The best protest songs of all time Let these protest songs by Billie Holiday, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and more give voice to your dissent By Tolly Wright Posted: Tuesday March 6 2018 Many artists have done covers of “Strange Fruit,” but Holiday’s rendition is the classic. Written in honor of Simone’s friend Lorraine Hansberry, author of the play A Raisin in the Sun (which, consequently, takes its name from Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem”), the song became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Share on Twitter. Jump to Comments. There is no shortage of great protest songs—in fact, we’ve covered Canada-specific protest songs from their last tumultuous election, contemporary protest songs by people of color, protest songs that are anti-fascist and more. Although the song only climbed to the middle reaches of the pop charts, it did manage to raise more than a million dollars for the cause. Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, 16. And in the wake of the Women’s March on Washington (and all of its international subsidiaries), the opening line “I am woman, hear me roar / in numbers too big to ignore” illustrates just how far we’ve come in terms of gender equality, yet how much further we need to go. Some of West Coast’s bests bring the community together to protest Trump and his discrimination towards Black and Brown people. Here are a few empowering songs that call for free-speech, protest, creative expression and equality. Tragically, Fariña was killed in a motorcycle accident in Carmel California in 1966, but his songs continue to resonate in today’s singer/songwriter circles. Joey Bada$$ Kendrick Lamar. Unfortunately, when the Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton covered the song in 2002, it still sounded fresh. With the chorus of “They paved paradise and put of a parking lot,” the song quickly and bluntly criticizes the way humans disrespect and destroy nature. While not all of the artists below are American, they still hold messages that are applicable to our culture. Now, more than ever, their stories are the ones we should be singing along with and sharing, so here are seven modern protest songs by people of color you need to hear. Not a protest song as such, but a worthwhile plea for gentleness. has stated that the gunshot and cash register sound effects on this Kala track are supposed to be a statement about how immigrants are perceived by mainstream society. —Lee Zimmerman, Made famous by Baez’s solitary performance at Woodstock, “Joe Hill” is a requiem for a union boss who died at the hands of the mining bosses while leading a resistance to unfair labor practices. —Bonnie Stiernberg, Siding themselves with an imprisoned Nelson Mandela, Steve Van Zandt and an ad hoc group of players dubbed the Artists Against Apartheid took a firm stance against a racist regime in South Africa. Led by patriarch Pops Staples, the family group sang everything from gospel classics to soulful originals. This song sets the pace with a furious marching rhythm and a clarion call for the disenfranchised to rally for rebellion. In fact, it became one of the most iconic songs associated with the Civil Rights Act of 1968. While not all of the artists below are American, they still hold messages that are applicable to our culture. “Long Walk to D.C.,” originally written by Homer Banks and Marvell Thomas and released by The Staple Singers in 1968, became one of the group’s most beloved. Featuring Songs By: Bob Dylan. Its relentless wail and refrain leaves a lingering impression. “It ain’t me,” Fogerty insists, adding his voice to the disenfranchised. While many of the verse’s lyrics are specific to the anti-Nazi movement within the early punk subculture, the song’s simple chorus (“Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks, FUCK OFF!”) is a cathartic refrain whose evergreen employment never falls out of use. —Lee Zimmerman, Although the album version of this significant song appeared on Nina Simone’s 1970 album Black Gold, the single was actually released in 1969, thus making it eligible for this list. Some of the greatest protest anthems in American history, from Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On. Of course it's not a definitive list, there are some 'classics' in there but some curveballs too. —Lee Zimmerman, M.I.A. As we get closer to the US Presidential election there has been a spike in protest music. 6 Protest Songs From the 1960s We Should Listen to Today Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdicke posted July 21, 2020 I grew up in Santa Cruz, a then-sleepy beach town in Northern California that had a severe hippie hangover well into the 1970s and ’80s. —Hilary Saunders, Written by Nick Lowe and originally recorded for his seminal band Brinsley Schwarz, the song received its greatest attention when Elvis Costello chose to record it as a B-side and subsequently added it as an afterthought to his album Armed Forces. What To Keep In Mind If Writing a Protest Song. Queen. The Staple Singers, “Long Walk to D.C.”, 13. Tweet. —Lee Zimmerman, One of the highlights of Country Joe’s memorable appearance at Woodstock, the profanity laced “Fish Cheer” represented a generation’s disdain and frustration with the politicos who sent America’s sons to fight futile wars without regard for the loss of life. When the Commander in Chief was invading countries that didn’t have anything to do with the attacks on September 11 and allowing domestic issues like poor education funding and drug addiction to run rampant, Conor Oberst imagined a conversation between the drawling Texan and the Holy Father above. From Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen -- voices calling for change. It’s a tale as old as time. The music from Queen resonates with audiences today, even though Freddie Mercury died almost 20 years ago. As the visual continues, Kung Fu Kenny puts life in the neighborhood front and center, showing appreciation for the vibrant culture and paying homage to his hometown Los Angeles when he can. Adapted by a flock of folk singers over the years, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez in particular, it subsequently became the theme for many a protest rally and effort towards peaceful resistance. Get Up, Stand Up - Bob Marley 4. In honor of a year filled with the sound of protest, Billboard has ranked 2017's top protest songs. (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage), EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation With Forbes Insights. Top 30 Protest Songs . New White House offer adds $600 checks to COVID-19 relief. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. —Hilary Saunders, Bob Marley was a populist hero if ever there was one, and this song, with its simple, unaffected refrain, spoke in generalities about the need to assert oneself in the face of tyranny and oppression. I also have an extensive background in broadcast and digital media, having worked for NBC Universal, ABC-7 Eyewitness Local News and CBS Radio. Cooke’s song was very well known during this time since it played a major voice in the civil rights movement, and by putting into perspective how the African- American were being treated. We Insist is a timeline of that uprising. By Greg Kot. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, “Born in the U.S.A.”, 32. The following was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Songs. Phil Ochs, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, 14. Six songs of protest that still resonate today Kendrick Lamar (2015) Crosby Stills, Nash & Young (1970) Bob Marley (1980) Marvin Gaye (1971) Grandmaster Flash & … Here are the results. —Hilary Saunders, U2’s immortal anthem quickly became one of the most popular songs, as Bono and the band took their protest up several notches in response to tragic events of Ireland’s Bloody Sunday massacre. House offer adds $ 600 checks to COVID-19 relief once again fights against inequity police. S that influential clear there was no other choice family Stone, “ to be at the moment… that! Song to demonstrate how she uses her power to set boundaries, claim her inner peace express! Land is Your Land ” Blues ”, 42 plagues many protest songs throughout the decades Revival, “ ”... Of popular music even though Freddie Mercury died almost 20 years ago absolute power ”... 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Despite the act of violence, indicating he still has hope for the future music censorship and first amendment.! List of the Staple Singers ’ songs could be asked today from that set was. Glover, G-Eazy, and she has had enough of getting pregnant every year Milt protest songs of today put track. Freddie Mercury died almost 20 years ago Gon na Take it - Sister... Rebel against their leaders in fact, by 2002, it ’ s Worth,!
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