Music

Marching to an anti-Trump tune

US President Donald Trump has united the music industry in protest

US President Donald Trump took office vowing to rebuild industry.

One where he has achieved inadvertent success is political music, with songs against his presidency quickly proliferating.

His campaign, in which he denounced Mexican immigrants, Muslims and other minorities, set off a deluge of protest songs and a new round has emerged as he was sworn in on Friday.

The tone has often been angry, with many artists taking to high-decibel guitars to vent frustration, while others took a more dour and contemplative look at the political shake-up.

Two major bands released their first music in years timed with the inauguration - Arcade Fire, one of the top names in indie rock, and virtual rockers Gorillaz, a side project of Blur frontman Damon Alban.

Arcade Fire's song, I Give You Power, is driven by a dark synthesised dance beat with vocals by rhythm and blues great and veteran civil rights activist Mavis Staples.

The band said it would donate proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to fight Mr Trump aggressively through the courts.

The new Gorillaz track, Hallelujah Money, is a trippy and electronic maze with the rich and wide-ranging voice of the Mercury Prize-winning British singer Benjamin Clementine.

Other musicians have also taken an increasingly strident role since the election.

Marching to an anti-Trump tune
Will Butler of Arcade Fire, which just released an anti-Trump song.PHOTO: AFP

Green Day chanted "No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!" while performing at the televised American Music Awards in November - refreshing a punk slogan which has since been embraced by anti-Trump demonstrators.

Rapper Joey Bada$$ marked the inauguration with new song Land Of The Free, which ruminates on continued racial inequalities after the exit of Mr Barack Obama as the first African American president.

"Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier/ Obama just wasn't enough, I just need some more closure," he raps.

DJ and long-time activist Moby put out a video for Erupt And Matter, a return to his punk roots with his Void Pacific Choir. The video intersperses images of Mr Trump with European far-right leaders, foreign strongmen and pitched battles on the streets.

Other political songs come from more surprising sources.

Fiona Apple, whose music is full of feminist themes and who generally shies from publicity, released Tiny Hands. The track intersperses Apple chanting "We don't want your tiny hands/ Anywhere near our underpants" with a sample of the infamous video in which Mr Trump was caught boasting of forcing himself on women.

A compilation benefit album released for the inauguration, Battle Hymns, features unreleased music by leaders of the biggest indie rock bands of the 90s including Pavement, Sleater-Kinney and Built to Spill.

And more is on the way.

PROJECT

The Our First 100 Days project plans songs throughout the beginning of the Trump presidency to support groups working on immigrant rights, climate change and other causes seen as threatened by the new administration.

It succeeds 30 Days, 30 Songs, which brought out new or revived tracks by artists including R.E.M., Aimee Mann and Franz Ferdinand.

The protest songs mark a sharp change from the past eight years when Mr Obama hobnobbed with top names in music, including Beyonce and U2.

He also startled music lovers by inviting to the White House, and appearing to show genuine enthusiasm for, more innovative artists including Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean.

Mr Trump struggled to find A-list acts for his inauguration, which instead brought the heartland patriotism of country music to the nation's capital.

The US president - who has accurately noted that he won despite the entertainment industry's embrace of his rival Hillary Clinton - brings the music world back to its adversarial relationship with power.

Washington became a punk epicentre during the 1981-89 presidency of Mr Ronald Reagan.

Jello Biafra, of Dead Kennedys fame, one of the most influential frontmen in US punk, vowed to battle Mr Trump - although he noted that major punk acts were already active in the 1970s.

"Let's get over this myth that this is somehow going to inspire great punk rock that otherwise wouldn't have happened," he said in a YouTube essay, adding it was like Mr Reagan frequently getting "credit for the fall of the Soviet Union". - AFP

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