Jay Z (and maybe Beyoncé) spearhead final anti-Trump musical push | Music | The Guardian

Jay Z and Beyonce: getting out the vote. Photograph: Evan Agostini/AP

With the candidates almost neck and neck in the most alarming presidential election in living memory, musicians are making a final push to get out the vote. On Friday night, Jay Z will join Hillary Clinton for a free concert at the Wolstein Center, in Cleveland, Ohio – an event that’s rumored to also include Beyoncé, his wife. With Donald Trump leading polls in Ohio, the Clinton campaign aims to use this superstar power to get millennials to vote. As if in preparation, Jay Z tweeted a quote by Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel earlier this week about the necessity of speaking out at times of emergency, adding: “Let’s make history (again).”

Then there’s the final stages of 30 Days, 30 Songs, an independent project in support of defeating Trump, which is on its final strait. Created by writer Dave Eggers, the daily, evolving playlist steadily releases new and previously unreleased music from independent musical voices all in favor of a Trump-free America, with proceeds going to the Center for Popular Democracy and its efforts to achieve universal voter registration.

The playlist launched with several big-name releases, including a never-before-released live version of World Leader Pretend by REM; a new Death Cab For Cutie effort called Million Dollar Loan; two Moby collaborations, one with the Homeland Choir (Trump Is on Your Side) and the other with the Void Pacific Choir (Little Failure); plus, most strikingly, a Franz Ferdinand number, Demagogue, that very bluntly takes jabs at Trump’s narcissism, hollow promises and ego.

Recently there’s been a Bob Mould jam, a live version of his old band Hüsker Dü’s In Free Land. Released in 1982, its sardonic lyrics – “Why bother spending time/ Reading up on things/ Everybody’s an authority/ In a free land” – resonate even more loudly in the current era of noisy, post-truth politics. Guster singer and guitarist Ryan Miller takes a different tack with a whimsical, circus-themed track titled The Clown. Its lyrics, by Eggers, take in Trump’s “orange face” and “cotton candy hair”, concluding that the Republican nominee is a “wounded little boy, a boy dressed as a man”.

The playlist will also include a live rendition of Local Natives track Fountain of Youth, a youth empowerment song that according to the band’s vocalist and guitarist Taylor Rice “couldn’t feel more apt for this moment. On one side of this debate, there is a deep distrust and cynicism, a disregard for the humanity of many. The younger generations know that this is not the world they see.”

“If music can play even a small role in reminding people to get out there and vote, then we have to do everything we can,” says Superchunk singer-guitarist Mac McCaughan, who contributed to a cover of Woody Guthrie’s Old Man Trump. The godfather of the American protest song wrote the number excoriating Trump’s father Fred for his reluctance to rent houses to African Americans. Ryan Harvey, Ani DiFranco and Tom Morello also recently covered the song.

“This election matters a great deal,” says Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney, who contributed the song Despierta with Peter Buck of REM. “Every single vote will matter to the future of this country. We can’t let the presidency go to Donald Trump, someone so racist, sexist and incredibly unqualified to be commander-in-chief.”

The 30 Days, 30 Songs project is only one outlet for today’s politically driven music. Common’s new album, Black America Again, released onFriday, is a powerful and furious look at racial tension and institutional racism. “Institution ain’t just a building,” Common spits in Letter to the Free. “We staring in the face of hate again/ The same hate they say will make America great again.”

The video for the album’s title track opens with a clip from the shooting death of Alton Sterling, when Baton Rouge police shot the 37-year-old at close range while held down. (In Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade, meanwhile, she takes a bat to a New Orleans police department camera. The state of Louisiana has long exhibited unjust police brutality towards civilians, including the beating of a shackled, bipolar 16-year-old girl caught on camera.)

Considering Trump’s degrading and predatory mannerism towards females, and his recents comments that have surfaced, this election is a frightening one for many women. Pussy Riot, some of whose members spent two years in prison for speaking out against Russian president Vladimir Putin, have turned their attentions to the US election: Nadya Tolokonnikova has released a new song called Make America Great Again. The music video portrays a hypothetical take on what would happen to America if Trump were to win, with no Muslims, no Mexicans, no gays and all women forced to look a certain way – plastic. The band also released a song Straight Outta Vagina, which was recorded in February but still considered to be an “answer to Trump”, and a celebration of female empowerment and sexuality.

Californian Rapper YG has also taken aim at Trump with two songs: FDT (Fuck Donald Trump) with Nipsey Hussle and FDT (Fuck Donald Trump) Part 2 with G-Eazy and Macklemore. “He can’t make decisions for his country, he gon’ crash us,” YG raps. In part two meanwhile, G-Eazy raps: “How’d he make it this far? How the fuck did it begin?/ A Trump rally sounds like Hitler in Berlin” and goes on to take aim at Trump’s response to the massacre in Orlando: “The fuck is goin’ on? People just passed/ A mass murder happened, you said thanks for the congrats.”

Even Eminem is anti-Trump: the seven-minute, near acapella Campaign Speech including the lyrics: “That’s what you wanted, a fucking loose cannon who’s blunt with his hand on the button who doesn’t have to answer to no one? Great idea.”

Meanwhile, jazz singer-songwriter Norah Jones has peppered her new album, Day Breaks, with political and social references. On the single Flipside, she sings: “You saw your reflection all over the news/ Your temperature’s well past 102/ Put the guns away, or we’re all gonna lose,” asking the ever unanswerable question: “If we’re all free, then why does it seem we can’t just be?”

“Being aware of everything that’s going on in the world and watching the news a lot … it really keeps you up at night,” Jones told the Guardian. “There’s no shortage of issues: that’s the problem.”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/nov/04/jay-z-hillary-clinton-concert-beyonce-anti-trump-songs