My Five Favorite Songs About Donald Trump

by Michael Channing

5. "Hook" by Blues Traveler

Hook by Blues Traveler as it applies to Donald Trump

The Song Itself

Blues Traveler pulled off a major act of passive aggressive social commentary with this song. It's a formulaic ditty with a catchy hook lambasting vapid songs that rely on formulaic structures and catchy hooks. The lyrics directly state they don't mean anything but end up taking on meaning as satire, but then, in the rapid-fire section at the end, they once again become vague and hollow while making you think they're important. Of course, viewed as irony, even the empty bombast is rife with significance. And the harmonica solo absolutely rocks.

What It Says About Trump

Trump has a few words that he uses repeatedly to drive home the idea that America is broken and he is the only one who can fix it. "Disaster" is one of them. Everything from health care to law enforcement is a disaster. When he takes office, things will be great again. You'll have "so many plans" available to choose from when you pick your insurance. Police will be strong again. He'll take on crime; he'll take on Isis. He'll fix the broken and rigged system. It's great talk, but that's all it is. He is speaking in generalities without actually saying anything of substance. But it's what his supporters find important. The disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the poor working class, they live in fear that their livelihood will be taken away.

Trump refers to the good old days when everyone pulled their own weight, when good work reaped good rewards, and the strong protected the weak. Those are the staples of fiction, of fantasies like Lord of the Rings and westerns like The Lone Ranger. Refer to those familiar dreams, and you tap into a bank of imagery that everyone understands and desperately wishes were true. When all you have to do is speak in cultural shorthand, everyone will think you've said something of great import, but it's all bluster. Legends are only legends because we've forgotten the facts. A steady job in the coal mine meant an early death from black lung. Doctors recommended cigarettes. Women could have any job they wanted as long as they didn't want a job that men already did. Even men didn't have all that many careers to choose from; you pretty much took up whatever your father did. You were born to this life and nothing else. The golden age Trump promises only exists in fairy tales.

4. "The Big Money" by Rush

The Big Money by Rush as it applies to Donald Trump

The Song Itself

This song is from Rush's album about power, and there are fewer things more powerful than money. The music flat-out rocks, and the lyrics are great, just what you'd expect from Rush. My favorite moment is in the first verse. Geddy sings, "Big Money got a mighty voice/Big Money make no sound," then Alex scrapes his fingers down his guitar strings to produce an amazing, cat-like growl. The point/counter-point aspect continues throughout the lyrics, depicting the dual nature of Money: the power to do good and the power to do harm. Under the corrupting sway of that much power, however, the richest corporations seem to always ally with the dark side.

What It Says About Trump

Trump knows how to show both faces and somehow still win your approval. He's brazenly abusive, egotistical, crude, jingoistic. Then he says something that sort of makes sense, something designed to dovetail with what you already believe, and you find yourself agreeing with the bastard. But make no mistake, Trump is only for Trump. Like Charles Foster Kane, he only wants the rush of winning, the surge of power. He's a tyrant in fool's clothing.

Don't we all live in awe of Big Money? Don't we all crave that lifestyle, the luxury and ease? He's just like us, so he'd like us to believe. But he travels by private jet everywhere he goes. He has golden furniture and hired help. Trump is not like us. We are his marks, his customers. He's always selling something, pretending to offer a life as good as his, but it's all a ruse to separate us from our cash. Keep in mind, he's not offering anything out of the goodness of his heart--if he has one that is. He's luring us into his web.

3. "The Garden of Allah" by Don Henley

The Garden of Allah by Don Henley as it applies to Donald Trump

The Song Itself

This is a song sung mostly by Satan, pining for the days when he had a monopoly on evil. He used to hang with the greatest thinkers and writers, the cream of society. Now he's on level with common merchants and lawyers. The coolest thing about the song is the backup singers. Female voices sing the refrain, "In the Garden of Allah," quavering and slightly out of sync, creating an ethereal sound. As the devil continues his diatribe, he longs for the days when "evil was evil, before things got so fuzzy." Nothing is absolute anymore. Criminals are let off the hook because they were abused. Corporations drain their employees' pensions and give their board members million-dollar raises, all technically legal in the eyes of the law. Wealth makes right, and statistics will back up whatever truth you want to push forth.

What It Says About Trump

Trump has been compared to many historical figures. Hitler, of course, but also William Hearst, Henry Ford, William Wallace, and Ross Perot. He's also attempted to co-opt the glory and nostalgia of Ronald Reagan to blend in with the Republican establishment while still acting as a rebel within the same party. He's also been called the Antichrist by some. While there are actual scholars who keep a checklist against which the claims of Antichrist can be confirmed or refuted, the way it was always described in my church was that the Antichrist would first act as a holy man, grafting himself onto preexisting beliefs and fooling everyone into believing his lies, but would then pervert the very structures and ideologies he pretended to support. I don't at all believe Trump is the Prince of Darkness, but he's done a good job of infiltrating then subverting almost every organization that has claimed him as their own. He's a Republican that supports abortion. He supports transgender people but habitually demeans women. He's not religious, but he has evangelical figures declaring he's born again. He's whatever you want him to be. Whatever it takes to win your support and sell you his brand, he will do or become. He's not interested in being authentic; he only wants to win.

His rhetoric about walling off the Mexicans and keeping out the Muslims is stoking the hate fires. The people give their blessings to his ugly denouncements. It's as if all our collective anxieties and prejudices, our knee-jerk hatred of all things alien and uncomfortable have taken corporeal form, sprayed itself orange, donned a tailored suit and an American flag pin and begun voicing the secret, dark beliefs of our fragile, frightened psyches. "He's saying what everyone is thinking," his supporters declare. Sometimes it's easier to believe Donald Trump is the actual biblical devil than it is to believe that so many people hear all his mean, ugly, bigoted, hateful, insensitive, divisive ramblings and think, "Yeah, that's me, too."

2. "Liar" by Rollins Band

Liar by Rollins Band as it applies to Donald Trump

The Song Itself

Rollins and the band apparently thought this spoken word/jazz/heavy metal hybrid of a song was a joke when they first wrote it. It became their only hit. Following a quiet/loud/quiet/loud template, the singer befriends a loner, talks his way in, and tells lie after lie. The bass-line is amazing, and Rollins channels every ounce of strength into screaming out the chorus.

Lonely people are easy to manipulate, easy to dupe. They want to belong so badly, they will often turn a blind eye to sharks and hustlers who offer them the slightest measure of human contact. Con men know this. The prey on outcasts, acting friendly and saying all the right things, taking and using till there's nothing left. I've been victimized like this, myself. You end up alone like you began, used up and ashamed of your stupidity, an easy mark for the next liar with a sweet word and a knowing smile.

What It Says About Trump

Trump says what others want to hear. That's been his m.o. since he began his campaign. He says what you already know, or at least what you believe you already know. Everyone carries some amount of paranoia that there are forces out to get them. Be it the government or foreigners, we see enemies out there, aligned against us, conspiring to take away all we hold dear. By reinforcing those beliefs and feeding that anger, Trump draws followers to him. He talks of conspiracies, of secret meetings, clandestine organizations scheming to take over. A large portion of the population hears this from a presidential candidate and thinks, finally someone is telling the truth. Doesn't matter if these notions adhere to reality; believe something hard enough, and it becomes real for you. Trump knows this. He is playing his audience, feeding them all the lies they need to hear, using them to get what he wants. They call him a hero. They trust him to fix the world that has aligned against them. When he's done, he'll leave them burned out, hollow, used up. That was his plan all along.

1. "In the Flesh" by Pink Floyd

In the Flesh by Pink Floyd as it applies to Donald Trump

The Song Itself

Pink Floyd's The Wall has a few layers. It's about how we all build walls around ourselves to stay safe, to hide from the cruel world. It's also about how the isolation of being on the road and living on stage can affect a rock band. In this song, the band has been replaced with a fascist group who lash out at strange-looking members of their audience. The singer points to them one at a time, signals for the rest of the audience to judge them and possibly do them harm. The idea is that all the power and prestige that comes with fame can corrupt anyone. As the song ends, the crowd is chanting the band's name. After the next song, the chant morphs into "Hammer! Hammer!" over and over, as in crush the infidels. So little Pink bought a guitar to punish his ma, along with anyone else who gets in his way.

What It Says About Trump

Trump has done this, hasn't he? During speeches, he's called for his supporters to attack protesters. He's made fun of a handicapped man, and a POW. He's promised to jail Hillary and to sue the women who have accused him of molestation He has a long list of enemies he wants to punish, a gallon bucket of grudges he cannot let go of. When he loses the election he'll kick and pout and shout for vengeance, but nothing will come of it because he's no Hitler, he's no Satan. He's only a sad little boy who never grew up, still shouting, "Look at me, look at me," as the grownups have a conversation and try to ignore the orange baby.

It was never about using power for good. For Trump it was about gaining enough political weight to throw against his detractors or bring the threat of harm against any who would sue, solicit, or hold him up to justice. If elected, he plans to put them all against the wall. Such a nasty man.

Honorable Mention:
"Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots

Sex Type Thing by Stone Temple Pilots as it applies to Donald Trump

With the "locker room banter" tape, the candy floss hair peeled back to reveal the skunk orgy that is Donald Trump's mind. Were we really all that surprised? He's rich and famous, which to him means all the world wants to be his friend; every woman wants to win his favor and will do anything to get it. Trump cannot fathom losing or being refused. Everyone and everything is his to grab. It will be a glorious thing when, on Election Day, Karma slaps the grin off his pinched, bloated, orange face.

Addendum: Post-Election, Pre-Inauguration

Well, that didn't happen did it? Very shortly we're going to get the president we elected. But did we let the right one in? Disagreeing with a president's policies or plans is one thing, but Donald Trump has demonstrated himself to be a horrible human being. Since his campaign begain, he's openly insulted women, minorities, disabled people, POW's, and a family who lost their son to war. Now he lies to us about having done those things despite the fact that we all watched him do it on television. When anyone disagrees with or insults him now, he acts the victim and claims the high road. He is going to take the highest office in our country, will represent us on the world stage, and he has yet to actually act presidential. Now before you react by saying, "But Hillary..." or "But when Obama..." stop. Listing the mistakes or failures of others does not make Trump a better person. I don't think anything less than a Christmas Carol-style visitation will make Trump a better person. Even then he'd probably disavow all the Christmas Past flashbacks eventhough he's clearly in them.

So here we go, America. We gave the job of boss to the one who shouted the loudest, implied he had the biggest stick, and has never done anything for anyone who didn't compliment him from the mirror every morning. It's Us vs. Them, and who Trump considers Us is shrinking every day.

We're all gonna get what we fuckin' deserve.

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