Indie Artists Spread Their Influence to Combat Trump

Cold War Kids, R.E.M., Franz Ferdinand, and more all join the fray

Zack Hage, Entertainment Editor

World, and Hamilton actor Daveed Diggs all have one thing in common: distancing themselves from Trump’s toxicity through the form of music.

Together, they joined fifty other artists in an anti-Trump series produced by The Center for Popular Democracy in order to protest their political feelings.

The event, which began a full month before Election Day, has already set itself in tune to be one of the most successful political playlists in recent memory. In fact, the limit was even extended to 50 songs. Discontinued bands such as R.E.M. have even provided new material for the playlist. However, listening to the whole collection provides a much more distant feeling, especially when such motivation and resistance is needed.

One reason for this is due to how split some of the artists’ opinions can be. On the 42nd track, “Exactly Like You,” political expression is woven into a kinder perspective on humanity’s most common flaws. But other songs like “Trump is on Your Side” and “I Might Vote 4 Donald Trump,” paint a satirized image that directly attacks some of America’s biggest groups, blue collar workers included. “You’re all alone and you’re filled with fear, The billionaire says what you need to hear,” said electronic singer Moby on his one of two tracks available.

While some of these more negative pieces sound great musically, the project’s overall morals become a little wishy-washy. It’s hard to support what’s being said when they’re making the same generalizations Trump does, just with a different spin. Other cuts fall even harder, failing to immerse listeners, and only servicing the artists themselves. “Locker Room Talk”, included by the Cold War Kids may be one of the most prime examples, providing a direction of protest barring solutions. When speaking about the song, the band said, “It’s important to state the obvious, to express those feelings in a song. Even if it’s maybe redundant, it feels great to let it all out!”

However, the playlist isn’t all bad news. Some re-releases or album takeaways provide separate viewpoints that are greatly needed. Alternative artist, Helado Negro offers what it’s like to be a minority in such a tense time, or as he calls it, “Young, Latin and Proud.” Meanwhile, underground rapper Open Mike Eagle offers a diverse take on relationship politics, while tying in the election effectively. Two other hip hop tracks also prevail (Fat Fingers and Writings on Disobedience and Democracy) combining unique production, with fast flourished commentary.

“He wanna make America Great Again, like when women couldn’t vote and it was legal to own humans as slaves, and you could say goodbye to Roe v Wade, and fair pay, and maybe see a different flag being waved,” Daveed Diggs stated on his finisher to his group production.

Other songs manage to name-drop recent controversies, without sacrificing musical talent. The aforementioned “Fat Fingers” samples Donald Trump’s Hollywood square being destroyed, and on the indie rock kick “Demagogue”, Franz Ferdinand mentions the Access Hollywood tape, mere days after it was released. “From the Wall straight to La Quenta, Those p*ssy grabbing fingers won’t let go of me now, He’s a demagogue!”

While I wouldn’t recommend political and or indie music connoisseurs to listen to the entirety of 30 Days 50 Songs, there are some definite highlights. One tip would also be to skip the live songs, since they offer passion over substance. After all, the best shots in this collection are the ones less expendable, proved by artists like SunKilMoon, clipping, and JPEGMAFIA for what we may be facing during the next four years.