During the most recent election cycle, few songs were played as often as YG’s “FDT” (F— Donald Trump). Now that Trump has assumed the presidency, there has been no shortage of anti-Trump anthems from all genres of music. As evident from the Trump administration’s difficulty finding performers from their inauguration, the music industry doesn’t seem to be fond of the president. However, it is unclear if this change in the country’s politics will lead to a music industry that will continuously pump out anti-Trump songs for the duration of his time in office.
“Music comes out to fight government when the situation is dire,” explained senior Nicholas Batman. “In terms of Trump, I definitely think he’s making an impact on music. Almost every week, some musician is making a statement attacking Trump for any one of his ridiculous policies. Awards shows, concerts, and the internet serve as an all encompassing medium for musicians to fight against Trump and they are taking advantage of every opportunity.”
Despite the vast number of anti-Trump songs, few of them have managed to get much radio play or becoming chart topping successes. Songs like Eminem’s “Campaign Speech,” Death Cab for Cutie’s “Million Dollar Loan,” and Fiona Apple’s “Tiny Hands” turned some heads and generated some discussion, but they never had any mass appeal. Lines like “Call your father on the phone, And get that million dollar loan” from “Million Dollar Loan,” are clever attacks on Trump, but they aren’t catchy and won’t get much radio play. When people are listening to music nowadays they are looking for an escape and not to reflect on the current political climate. This overall feeling will possibly make it difficult for a new punk movement of Trump protest music entering the mainstream.
While protest music might not have the biggest audience East students see it as a worthwhile venture for musicians.
“[Music] serves as a rallying cry to create hope or to stir discontent. It connects people. It communicates emotions to everyone and transcends intangible boundaries to send a message,” declared Batman. “Music is uniting us under a president who attempts to divide us. It is for this reason that it is an effective mode of protest.”
“I do think music is an effective way of protesting Trump,” said senior Owen Bonertz. “He is so thin skinned that merely calling him out by name can provoke a significant reaction.”
While these musical acts of defiance are by no means all that is needed to combat a Trump presidency, they seem to be an integral part of the movement needed to enact change that should not be overlooked.