Thursday, May 19, 2016

Campaign Songs for Candidates of Distinction in 2016

Every national election cycle, pop-stars are forced to emerge from their fancy recording studios to scream, "STOP PLAYING MY SONG AT YOUR HITLER RALLIES, ASSHOLE!" at some dumbass candidate who didn't ask permission to blast their songs at his Hitler rally. Or something to that effect.

In a big election, it's a given that Neil Young will have to drop whatever genius project he's beavering away at to keep Rockin' in the Free World out of the hands of some would-be despot. And  Pearl Jam often joins in, offering their two cents. And you don't want to make Pearl Jam mad. They're like a gang. A really nice gang, but unified. Ask permission, candidates or feel their wrath!

I'd like to offer to today's candidates my latent DJ'ing skills with this theoretical rally playlist. You're making grand entrances at this point, people (and narcissists). The right song is crucial. Especially you, Donald Trump, or I should say the Villainous Donald Trump. Every villain needs his proper entrance song as he swoops to the podium to make his (or her—let's be fair) bid as leader of the free world.

For Trump, that song is Denis Lear's Asshole (Uncensored Version). A no-brainer. Uncensored because La Donald is always uncensored and encourages his trolls to be the same, either by insults or fisticuffs.

And something for Trump's trolls to head-bang to while not pondering the dull process of public policy — cranked-out Ozzy Osbourne performing Crazy Train from within a giant football helmet at the Patriots' 2005 opener while Trump supporter Tom Brady struts about, making sure his balls are adequately deflated.

What's truly inherent in Trump's message? Yes, there's stupidity, evil and bigotry, but if I had to describe his personal essence in musical form, I'd bypass hyperbolic "we're not gonna take it" lunacy and boil it down to this—1980s muzak—representing the soulless and condoned greed at the heart of Trump's TV-personality. From Kmart, 1989, muzak to shop to and vote for.

Bernie Sanders is an old-school radical and I like the cut of his jib. This is another no-brainer —Woody Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land.

Modified to reflect aging hipsters and their ilk:

But there's a dark side to Bernie's followers, the Bernie Bros—what an embarrassing moniker. Get it together, Bernie Bros. You don't want to look back at your youth and have to admit, "Yup, I was a Bernie Bro. I attacked Clinton-ites like a crocodile going after a cute baby goat." That's no kind of legacy. We all want the United States to be cool, so be cool! Here's your song: Timmy Thomas' Why Can't We Live Together.

Now is the time to rock the vote and feel the Bern, so here's Creedence Clearwater Revival's Fortunate Son. Everyone dance around like the baby boomers of yore, pale hands raised in the air like you just don't care. The Sanders campaign message in musical form.

Clinton time! Hell, yeah, I'm going to go there: I Am Woman by Helen Reddy for Hillary Clinton—duh. I don't care if you think it's old or cheesy, this is a great anthem. Reddy had to market it herself (alongside her publicist husband) because radio stations wouldn't play it. As soon as she performed it on the day-time talk-show circuit, lady viewers called their local radio stations, requesting it en masse. Stuck-in-the-dinosaur-age music directors were forced to answer the call(s) and a huge hit was born. By a woman. Imagine that.

Clinton's alignment with big-money donors has tarnished her in the eyes of many Democrats. She works hard because she has to, but she could use some soul in her message. For Clinton supporters, I prescribe Bettye LaVette's cover of Ringo Starr's It Don't Come Easy.

I gotta believe that what fuels Hillary Clinton isn't merely political amplitude but pure bottomless yet very controlled anger. Anger at the man—all the assholes she's dealt with. Anger at the system, anger at her role within the system to get where she is today. Anger driving her on to the very top—right through the glass ceiling and beyond! For that secret fiery heart of Clinton, here's Joan Jett's Bad Reputation. So everyone on the campaign trail can pogo and get their aggression out in a heart-healthy manner.

And what would the theme song for Election Year 2016 be if such a thing existed? Mudhoney's Here Comes Sickness will do nicely.

You better vote because I'm sick of our political sickness.

Update: Fabulously funny John Oliver and his clever team of writers weigh in. Last Week Tonight forever!