Donald Trump, everyone’s favorite Republican frontrunner and Wharton grad, is gaining a bit of attention for his pre–rally playlist selections. Earlier in his campaign, he got in some hot water with Neil Young for using his 1989 hit “Rocking In The Free World” at rallies. Trump’s song choice is very interesting, given that Young’s track is a protest song against traditional conservative ideologies. The track directly critiques George H. W. Bush’s campaign promises and is looked to as a classic example of a politically charged, anti–Reagan era anthem.
Trump’s off–message song choices don’t end there. A few nights ago, I was discussing this very topic with some of the DP members who attended the New Hampshire primary. They had attended a Trump rally and observed the very same phenomenon: Donald Trump’s music is almost exclusively off–message for his campaign.
In the spirit of the upcoming primaries, I’ve compiled some potential Trump rally tracks that may seem like good rally songs, but in true Trumpian spirit, are problematic for his campaign. It’s a nice mix of classic cuts, hip–hop anthems and new–wave grooves, so sit back, relax and make America great again!
- “Fortunate Son”—Creedence Clearwater Revival from Willy and the Poor Boys
- This 1969 CCR track seems like the feel–good song of the summer, but it’s actually a Vietnam War protest song. The lyrics criticize the rich, young men who dodged the draft—which is precisely what Donald Trump has been accused of. Donald Trump is the Fortunate Son.
- “Mother’s Little Helper”—The Rolling Stones from Aftermath
- This song has actually been played at Trump rallies, but it’s just too good not to include. The song is classic Stones and has a great sixties rock vibe. The only problem is, the song is about using Diazepam to get through the day. I’m no political analyst, but I’m pretty sure that advocating benzo addiction is probably not the best campaign strategy for a presidential candidate.
- “Scenario”—A Tribe Called Quest from The Low End Theory
- “Scenario” is a Tribe classic and a great pump–up song, fitting for a rally with thousands of people. However, both Q–Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Tribe are Muslim. Busta Rhymes, also Muslim, has a breakout performance on this track. Knowing the Trump campaign’s controversial statements on American Muslims, A Tribe Called Quest might not be exactly what they’re looking for.
- “C.R.E.A.M.”—Wu–Tang Clan from Enter the Wu-Tang Clan: 36 Chambers
- Another classic hip–hop classic, C.R.E.A.M. stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me, fitting for Trump’s campaign considering that some of his biggest talking points are his financial successes and the claim that he is financing his own campaign. And for added effect, the first M.C., Raekwon the Chef, is Muslim.
- “Young Americans”—David Bowie from Young Americans
- This funky, soulful Bowie track feels good with its choir backups and saxophone. But if you listen closely, the song is about a young woman trying and failing to make it in America. Its depiction of the American Dream is bleak and runs in direct contradiction to Trump’s nationalist rhetoric and beliefs about the magic of the ole U.S. of A.
- “China Girl”—Iggy Pop from The Idiot
- “China Girl” is a bit on the nose. It’s a solid alternative rock song with brooding vocals and sweeping guitar soloing throughout. On a lyrical level, the song was written about an Asian woman that Iggy fell in love with. Trump, however, has expressed that he has little love for China…or really most other countries that he views as an economic threat.
- “Born in the U.S.A.”—Bruce Springsteen from Born in the U.S.A.
- Okay, this one is a little bit stereotypical. Many people view this song as a patriotic anthem to wave a flag and watch fireworks to. It seems like the perfect Trump rally song. The issue is, this song is just the opposite of what many people may believe. “Born in the U.S.A.” is a scathing anti–war track and a harsh criticism of the role of the American military in foreign nations. Given Trump’s brash remarks about “bombing the shit” out of oil fields in the Middle East, this track may not be what he’s looking for.