Feature: Soundtracking Trump's America

Words by Maddy Howell

It has been approximately 238 hours since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. In that time, he has:


So, it’s safe to say that things aren’t going too brilliantly in terms of… well… everything. But if there’s one thing that political unrest calls for, it’s good protest music, and here’s some of the finest to help power us through the coming weeks.

Propaghandi – The Only Good Fascist is a Very Dead Fascist

If it's ruthless political opposition you're in search of, Propaghandi are always the way to turn. The Only Good Fascist is a Very Dead Fascist is not only an undeniable fact, but the track is a perfect comeback to Trump supporters looking to "take back their country". If there's something more annoying than a fascist, it's an oblivious fascist, and every lyric is the perfect way to tell them to sit down and shut up.

"Just what exactly are the great historical accomplishments of your race that make you so proud to be white? / Capitalism? Slavery? Genocide? Sitcoms? / This is your fucking white history." 

YG and Nipsey Hussle – FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)

If there's one thing that Trump doesn't deserve, it's subtlety, and YG & Nipsey Hussle sure as hell aren't here to give it to him. With a video shoot that provoked police to try and shut it down, and threats from the secret service to pull his album, luckily this track was worth a few run-ins with the cops. Featuring a death threat directed at Trump following his comments about Mexicans being "rapists" and "drug dealers", it's difficult not to agree that it's directed deservingly. Although explicitly angry, there's no doubts about the sadness tinged behind the track, as POC in the US come to terms with the sickening state of affairs.
"You vote Trump then you're probably on dope / And if you're like me they you probably ain't know / And if you been to jail you can probably still vote."

Black Flag – Rise Above

In situations like this it becomes easy to let the misery overwhelm everything and accept defeat. Rise Above is the perfect anthem to combat this defeatist attitude, focusing on "rising above" adversity and refusing to be controlled by society. Black Flag are the masters of angst, with each note spat with as much passion as uncontrollably fury. Although they've gone off the rails a bit since their reunion, the California hardcore pioneers may still have provided the perfect soundtrack to defying Trump's rule.

"Society's arms of control / Rise above, we're gonna rise above / Think they're smart; can't think for themselves / Rise above, we're gonna rise above."

Death Cab For Cutie – Million Dollar Loan

Appearing at first listen to be little more than a 'Transatlanticism'-era tinged Death Cab For Cutie track, it takes a more careful look at the lyrics to see exactly what point the band are aiming to convey. The melancholy acoustic tone sets the scene for an observation on Trump's false claim that he built his business on nothing more than a "small loan of a million dollars" from his father. As arguably the least aggressive number on the list, Million Dollar Loan is less stabbing Trump in the chest, more easing the knife in gently and twisting it slow.
"His enemies can't contain the flames of jealousy / With brutish charm the women flock to be on his arm / Because it's a sign of weakness to apologise."

Joey Bada$$ - Land of the Free

As the first single from his upcoming album, Joey Bada$$'s Land of the Free is a powerful protest against the race and class warfare in America. Released around the time of Trump's inauguration, it features criticisms of both the current president and Obama, though much harsher discourse is directed at the man currently sat in office. It's a no holds barred protest track, speaking the minds of millions in this turbulent time.

"Sorry America I will not be your soldier / Obama just wasn't enough, I need some more closure / And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over."

G. L. O. S. S. – Targets of Men

The sadly now defunct G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society's Shit) showed just how fierce and feisty punk could be during their brief existence in the punk scene. The queer hardcore punks took a stand against a number of social issues throughout their two EPs, with Targets of Men addressing the misogynistic culture we live in. With Trump in office, these values are being perpetuated on a daily basis by the cheeto dust coated man himself and his weaselly cronies, and G.L.O.S.S. are the perfect opposition to his sexist ways.

"This make-up is for my eyes / These fishnets are for my thighs / This walk is how I got through life / You want the pepper spray first or the pocket knife?"

D.O.A. – Fucked Up Donald

Back in the 80's, Canadian punks D.O.A. gave a well-deserved kick in the teeth to the grotesque cowboy Reagan in the track Fucked Up Ronnie. Lord knows we didn't deserve such a blessing, but they're back, with a sadly barely edited track that resonates just the same 30 years on. Making up for it's unsubtle lyrics in it's sheer amount of distorted power chords, sure, the only lyric that has really changed is the name, but if the shoe fits...

"He’ll nuke Korea / And bomb Iran / And when he cuts a deal / We’ll get scammed."

Pussy Riot – I Can’t Breathe

Since his unfortunate arrival on the scene Trump has never hidden his approval and appreciation of Vladimir Putin's leadership style, a leadership style renowned for getting dissidents arrested and killed. Feminist punk protesters Pussy Riot are more than familiar with this, with members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina arrested and charged with hooliganism in 2012. As their first song in the English language, I Can't Breathe focuses on the issue of police brutality, paying it's respects to the case of Eric Garner. The song features a reading of Garner's final words by Richard Hell, making the track as powerful as it is eerily heart-wrenching. 

"He’s become his death / The spark of the riots / That’s the way he’s blessed to stay alive / It never leads to an end / It's never getting quiet / If it's unfair, my friend / Make up your mind."

case/lang/veirs – People Have the Power

The supergroup of Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs have been performing their version of Patti Smith's perennial protest song People Have The Power at live shows all through last summer. However it's only now, in the wake of this American political devastation, that the trio have made the decision to release a live recording of the track. "We hope Patti's message resonates with you as you march in solidarity this weekend, and during the next 4 years," they stated. An extra special touch comes in the cover art, an adaptation of the logo for the Women's March on Washington, replacing the faces with the band's own likeness. 

"And the people have the power / To redeem the work of fools / From the meek the graces shower / It's decreed the people rule."

Sateen – Love Makes the World

Putting Trump aside, the next best contender for US presidential villain of the decade is his VP, Mike Pence. An avid supporter of conversion therapy and having signed a bill to jail same-sex couples who apply a marriage license, the man is as vomit-inducing as he is deluded. It's fearful times like these in which the LGBTQ+ community needs a ray of hope, and that's exactly what married queer glam-pop duo Sateen provide in this anti-Trump anthem. The video is beautifully diverse, featuring a glittering display of the LGBTQ+ community in all it's glory as Sateen confidently announce "they will not ignore us".

"Take a step ahead / Move back two spaces / How do we progress / When we're ruled by racists?"

Also check out the Don't Stop Now covers compilation featuring The Menzingers, Chris Farren, Jeff Rosenstock, Laura Stevenson and loads more artists in aid of the America Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is an organisation that seeks to defend and protect the rights of individuals and their freedom in situations involving government abuse. They work towards protecting free speech, defending a woman's right to choose, the rights to due process and citizens rights to privacy. Every penny donated to their cause will assist in protecting those made most vulnerable under the reckless authoritarian Trump presidency. 

Here is a list of other charities to donate to if you are able, all aiming to kick the injustice brought about in Trump's America.

Planned Parenthood - Aim to protect women rights by providing access to safe and legal abortion, fighting for sex education for young people and providing affordable birth control.

Southern Poverty Law Centre - A non-profit organisation that aim to combat hate and seek justice for the most vulnerable in society through education. 

National Organisation for Women - An organisation focused on fighting for the rights of women, with aims to achieve economic equality, abortion rights and reproductive freedom amongst a number of other issues.

National Immigration Law Centre - Fight for the rights of low-income immigrants to provide refuge and care for those in need. Currently carrying out emergency procedures to bring an end to Trump's Muslim/refugee ban.

True Colors Fund - With 1.6 million youths homeless each year, up to 40% LGBT, True Colors Fund have a mission of ending youth homelessness. In Trump's America youth homelessness is set to rise, and combat against this issue is vital.