The Emergence of Anti-Trump Music


Michael Stipe of R.E.M has been quite vocal in his disapproval of Donald Trump

It’s no secret that the musicians of the world tend to congregate far to the left end of the political spectrum- an area Donald Trump has left thoroughly dissatisfied. Ever since a Trump victory became a feasible outcome, and especially since it became a reality, popular musicians have turned into activists vocalizing their dissent both verbally and through song. In a revival of the tumultuous passion of the 1960’s, protest music has once again come to the forefront of the industry as many artists have released tracks for the explicit purpose of expressing disapproval of a leader unlike any our country has ever seen.

The anti-Trump music movement is called 30 Days, 30 Songs. It features notable artists such as R.E.M., Jimmy Eat World, Local Natives, Death Cab for Cutie, and Franz Ferdinand- all members of an organization labeled “Artists for a Trump-free America”. The project’s mission was to release a song each day, starting 30 days prior to election night, in an attempt to further the anti-Trump sentiment and prevent his election. While this ambitious goal was left unachieved, the result has nonetheless been a conglomeration of noteworthy songs written  from a place of true passion. If fans of the artists participating in 30 Days, 30 songs are disillusioned by the result of the election, they can take some solace in the new music provided for them to commiserate with. The playlist, actually containing 49 songs, can be found here.

Musicians desiring to voice their political opinion have not stayed confined to 30 Days, 30 Songs. In the wake of their most recent release, Revolution Radio, Green Day has coined the slogan, “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA”, which they have chanted at all performances, including that during the American Music Awards.

A Tribe Called Quest released the politically-charged, We Got it From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, to much critical acclaim, and much deliberation over whether the final track, entitled “The Donald”, is actually about Donald Trump. The formal answer is no; but there is a clear presence of anti-Trump ideology across the album as Q-Tip and Phife Dog rap about the presence of institutionalized racism and social inequality.

Trump has even faced difficulty finding music to play at his rallies, as most musicians are unwilling for their work to be associated with his campaign. Adele, Neil Young Steven Tyler, The Rolling Stones, and The White Stripes have all stated their disapproval after their songs were played to boost crowd energy. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. was especially poignant, tweeting “Go f**k yourselves, the whole lot of you– you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign”.

While some may question the effectiveness of protest music, or of the protest of an election in general, the art created over the past few months has undoubtedly done a powerful job of expressing that many Americans will not stand for hate or intolerance in our political system. Trump may be in office, but the voice of the people, when spoken loud enough, will always have the final say in our democracy.