"Getting Political" Again?
There were several other assertions of desire on that disc before she went for it, leaning heavily into what just might be one of the most blatant pro-choice songs of her generation...until, of course, she tacked a tune called "Amendment" onto Which Side Are You On?:
If you don't like abortion, don't have an abortion.
Teach your children how they can avoid them...
but don't treat all women like they are your children.
Compassion has many faces, many names.
If men can kill and be decorated instead of blamed,
then a woman called upon to mother can choose to refrain.
That she found the wherewithal and creativity to turn "abortion" into a singable word is probably not so surprising, considering. But, elsewhere on the album, she tackles racism, homophobia, drug companies, marriage rights, promiscuity's taboo, even death. All this under the moniker of one of the most provocative and stirring labor anthems of the 20th Century, even while giving plenty of time and lyrical love to her husband and child. Quite a feat for 12 songs which clock in at just under an hour total.
It Takes a Community
Some attention should be given to that tune, indeed. Aside from the traditional "Amazing Grace" (which DiFranco re-arranged and recorded for her 1996 album Dilate), she has yet to feed any old folk songs through the folk process (changing lyrics for changing times) and put them on her albums. "Which Side Are You On?" (purchase/download) is the first, and she completely reconstructed its verses to apply to modern concerns. The tune draws hard lines where politicians are probably hesitant to do so, ultimately calling for voter turnout and general engagement/participation in democracy ("Come on all good workers! Let's all vote this time! / Tell 'em which side are you on now, which side are you on?").
That there happens to be a major nationwide people's movement happening around DiFranco's release of the album is purely coincidental, but the disc is likely to fill the hole so many critics have been pointing to, asking where OCCUPY's anthem is. The answer may just be here.
(Check out this history of the song "Which Side Are You On?")