Pete Seeger wrote the liner notes to his 1966 release Dangerous Songs?, a collection rather loosely grouped under that theme.
Any work of art, from a Michelangelo painting to a Beethoven symphony to a play by Shaw, has a point to make. If we disagree with its point, we call the art “propaganda.”
A lullaby is a propaganda song, in the opinion of the three-year-old who doesn’t want to be put to sleep.
A hymn is a controversial song. Try singing one in the wrong church.
Even the singer of bawdy songs is protesting — sanctimoniousness.
The author of “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams and Dream Your Troubles Away” penned the most common propaganda of all.
His final paragraph:
You’ll have to decide for yourself about all these songs: who they are dangerous to, and what for, and whether they are dangerous to you. We all know there are two sides to every question. There are two sides to a piece of flypaper, too, but it makes a great difference to the fly which side he lands on.
I quibble with some of this — not every work of art has a “point”, not all questions have only two sides — but there may be more in common between 1966 and 2019 than I’d like to acknowledge.