Yesterday Dave Eggers announced a new project, “30 Days, 30 Songs,” aimed at defeating Donald Trump. (The writer must’ve been seriously scarred by the rally he attended in Sacramento.) Each day from now till the election or the apocalypse, whichever comes first, an anti-Trump band or artist will release a new track or previously unheard material. The first, Death Cab For Cutie’s “Million Dollar Loan,” dropped yesterday, complete with a video mocking Trump for the “small” loan he took from his dad back in the day. Aimee Mann chimed in today with “Can’t You Tell,” a song in which Trump confesses he doesn’t really want to win, and we’re told this week will also bring a “never-before-released live song by R.E.M.”
Wait, R.E.M.? Wasn’t Michael Stipe a Bernie guy, even trekking to Coney Island to do hot dogs with him? Well, yes, but Hillary is pretty much Bernie’s crush with eyeliner now. And this much is for sure: R.E.M. does not have an orange crush on the guy whom Mike Mills calls “the Orange Clown.” They even told him to go fuck himself when he used “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” at a rally. With that in mind, here are the cuts from R.E.M.’s opus that best double as down-with-Donald songs.
1. “Bad Day”
This song off of In Time could not only describes a Trumpian bullshit artist (“shit so thick you could stir it with a stick—free Teflon whitewashed presidency”), it could also be interpreted as a wakeup call to his supporters: “Look behind the eyes / It’s a hallowed out, hollow anesthetized / ‘Save my ass, screw these guys’ / Smoke and mirror lockdown.”
2. “Circus Envy”
In this song off of Monster, the narrator is tired of a “mean, mean, mean” bully’s “dodge-ball circus act.” Need we say more?
This track off of Automatic for the People lashes out at the politicians who “marched into the capital brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready.” It doesn’t help that the “TV tells a million lies”— or traffics in false equivalence, if you’re to believe Paul Krugman. Call it Ignoreland or Idiocracy, the result is the same: we’re going “off the precipice into the trickle-down runoff pool.” Or the “trumped-up trickle-down” pool, if you prefer.
4. “Hollow Man”
This Accelerate song about a man who took the prize for “for saying things I didn’t mean and don’t believe” could easily be a Trump monologue: “Believe in me, believe in nothing,” anyone?
5. “Until the Day Is Done”
Another one off of Accelerate, this lament written during the George W. Bush days captures the apocalyptic vision of those who hold tight their babies and hold tight their guns: “The business-first flat-earthers licking their wounds / The verdict is dire, the country’s in ruins.” Those people with “notions of glory and bull-market gain”? They’re the same ones who want to Make America Great Again.
6. “World Leader Pretend”
Despite its title, this one off of Green isn’t about a candidate running for president just to boost his brand (which isn’t working, by the way). But it still kinda applies to Trump because it’s about a man racked with inner turmoil who has “raised a wall.” The difference is, this World Leader Pretend has decided he’ll also “be the one to knock it down.” Hopefully Donald gets there some day.
7. “Final Straw”
Hillary’s campaign mottos, “Love Trumps Hate” and “Stronger Together,” are contained in this couplet: “And love, love will be my strongest weapon / I do believe that I am not alone.” This was actually a protest song about the Iraq War, which (fun fact!) Trump initially supported. It’s nice to think he’s the one being addressed when Stipe sings, “There’s a voice in me that says you will not win.”
Correction and update: The original version of this post was revised to correct the name of the REM member who called Trump “the Orange Clown.” Also, the REM song ended up being “World Leader Pretend”.