"Where are all the protest songs?" In our troubled times, it's a question that lingers in the air, almost like a lyric.
You could sing it to the tune of Pete Seeger's Where Have All The Flowers Gone? — itself an anti-war ballad of great power and anguish.
But it's also one that plenty of musicians have been pondering lately, including some of the most provocative troubadours of the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
"I constantly ask myself: where are the great protest songs of today?" said Buffy Sainte-Marie, who wrote Universal Soldier, in a recent interview with The Independent.
Billy Bragg — whose music has tackled subjects including Thatcherism, the Troubles and the treatment of the poor — shares that sentiment.
"When I was first plying my trade, people were willing to talk about these issues. Now they'd rather write about getting blasted than changing the world," he told The Guardian in 2011.
As children are slaughtered in Syria, as ice caps melt, as the atomic mushroom looms ominously in our thoughts and the doomsday clock ticks closer to midnight, the musical mainstream is largely failing to reflect these terrors.
Nor, it seems, is the current crop of popular songwriters all that interested in stopping them.
"I think there's a real culture of apathy and complacency, and I think that's a really dangerous place to be," lamented Australian singer-songwriter Dan Sultan, who will be performing at the upcoming Womadelaide music festival.
"There are so many young people who aren't even bothering to register to vote."
In 1968, protest was one of the defining gestures of youth culture. But half-a-century later, outrage is tweeted from the comfort of airconditioned rooms.
Sultan and the Oils
In one sense, claiming the protest song is dead is fake news. There are plenty of modern musicians, especially hip hop artists, whose work challenges aspects of the contemporary world.
But their political messages tend to be drowned out by the enormous amount of other music being recorded these days.
"There are lots of involved artists around today, but we've got to get up off our backsides and seek them out," Irish folksinger Christy Moore said recently.
More than a decade ago, Midnight Oil drummer and songwriter Rob Hirst offered an explanation as to why protest singers have become more marginalised.
"Maybe complaint rock is still being written," he said, "but ignored by an industry hypnotised by get-famous-fast TV shows".
In the 1980s, the Oils were producing records that were both popular and politically charged, and there was an enthusiasm for songs that challenged the status quo.
But Sydney University pop music expert Charles Fairchild believes that is no longer the case because today's music industry is less willing to take risks.
"There's a kind of general approach of 'let's try not to rock the boat too much'. You don't want to go viral in the wrong way," Fairchild said.
Midnight Oil was just one of many bands to influence a young Dan Sultan. The Aboriginal songwriter also grew up listening to Sam Cooke, AC/DC and the Warumpi Band, among many others.
Sultan will this weekend be performing at Womad — an event that has always had a whiff of Woodstock about it.
His 2017 album Killer contains tracks that tackle political and social justice themes.
"Some days you wake up and you're just tired, and you want to go 'this is what's happening and this is what's up'," Sultan said.
The song Drover is about the Gurindji strike, and was intended to be a musical prequel to Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody's From Little Things Big Things Grow.
Kingdom, with its bitter line about being "led by leaders we deserve", was written in direct response to the election of US President Donald Trump.
"I hate to mention the T-word, but Trump had just had his inauguration where no-one showed up and they were saying it was the biggest one of all time and we were in the studio saying 'this guy is completely ridiculous'."
From Vietnam to Syria
Many protest songs have specific targets: war, discrimination, mistreatment of minorities, poverty, nuclear power. It's easy to associate them with left-wing politics, but sometimes they advocate causes that are more identifiable with conservatism, or that imply no obvious allegiances.
"Protest songs are a much wider and broader category than is often assumed," Fairchild reflected.
English folk singer Vin Garbutt was fiercely individual, and alienated a portion of his audience by singing against abortion.
But protest music "doesn't have to be an aggressively didactic argument for something. It could be simply descriptive," Fairchild said.
"A pointed description is often just as effective as aggressive argument."
As an example, Fairchild suggested the song Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The lyrics describe the aftermath of the killing of four student protesters at Kent State University by the US National Guard in May 1970.
But the implied sentiment is one of intense criticism towards the Nixon administration and the Vietnam War.
Songs like Ohio would struggle to find air-time in the US today, Fairchild believes, because American patriotism "is so heavy and so thick that you really don't dare to criticise the troops".
Aleppo-born, US-based singer Bedouine (real name Azniv Korkejian) has, however, dared to use her music to criticise US involvement in the Syrian conflict.
"I've had enough of your guns and your ammunition," she sings in Summer Cold.
The song, she said, was an "emotional reaction to reading repeatedly that America was arming the rebel groups".
"I kept reading that those arms kept getting into the hands of terrorists who were aggravating the war," she said.
"I was really devastated by that because I thought 'we're just making it worse'."
The war is a significant factor in her life in other ways. Korkejian's family is of Armenian background, and many fled Syria before the worst of the bombing. But some stayed behind.
Korkejian herself is based in Los Angeles, and summed up her feelings about the situation in the song Louise, which she sings in Armenian.
"I was contemplating why [people] would stay there, in harm's way. The more I thought about it, the more I started to sympathise with people who were staying," she said.
"Louise is a song about keeping your chin up."
Remixing music with politics
In the 1950s, rock and roll emerged as an inherently subversive music, regardless of what its lyrics happened to say. It sounded raw and untamed. It was the music that parents feared, that threatened 'family values'.
Before rock came along, "the world was beige and the music was crap", comedian and folk singer Billy Connolly joked during a gig. But by the end of the 1960s, rock and roll had fostered a range of new styles: progressive, psychedelic, funk, electro.
In England, migrants from former colonies brought music with them, adding to the mix.
"You grew up with Irish music, music from India, Pakistan, Africa, calypsos from the Caribbean," recalled English record producer Adrian Sherwood, who was born in London in 1958.
"I'd sit with my friend's big sister and she'd be playing reggae, calypso, soul. I'd go to another house and they'd be playing Hendrix."
Jamaican music was Sherwood's first love. He started DJ-ing when he was 13 and is today a leading producer of dub music, which fuses reggae with electronic elements.
Sherwood — who will, like Bedouine, be performing at Womad — believes the decline of record shops has reduced the range of songs young listeners are exposed to.
While the music he works with is not necessarily political, he has been vocal about issues that matter to him, including the plight of the Palestinians and the modern banking system.
As he spoke to me from his home overlooking the English Channel in Kent, Sherwood reflected on the thousands of refugees who have travelled across the seas fleeing violence in the Middle East.
"I'm not trying to stand on a little box preaching to people, but you've got to try to make sure you've got something that means something," he said.
"I'm not really somebody who wants to be doing 'honey, kiss-kiss baby' lyrics."
The future of protest
Is the protest song a dying art? That's a difficult question to answer.
A renaissance might seem unlikely in a world in which Taylor Swift is reluctant to even talk about politics, let alone sing about it.
But Fairchild thinks music will always be willing to tackle political themes, and the recent flurry of songs critical of Donald Trump is proving him right.
America's gun violence has also prompted musical expression.
"Any time we're out there and we're banging the pots together and we're fighting the good fight — I think that's always going to be a positive thing," Sultan said.
"There's always a need for protest songs. You just gotta tap it," Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone in 1974.
Perhaps the times, along with the tunes, are again a-changin'.