With SF-Based ’30 Days, 30 Songs' Project, Musicians Rally Against Trump

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, whose 'A Million Dollar Loan' kicked off the '30 Days, 30 Songs' project.  (Cassandra Hannagan/Getty Images)

If the past few weeks of election coverage have felt more like a couple of years, you're not alone.

That's just one reason 30 Days, 30 Songs feels like such a light at the end of the tunnel: It's confirmation that we've hit a 30-day countdown. The project, helmed by Noise Pop co-founder Jordan Kurland and McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers, will release one new, original anti-Trump song from both emerging and established artists each morning at 9am until Election Day; a statement by the day's artist accompanies a YouTube video and Spotify stream at the website 30days30songs.com.

Day one, on Oct. 10, brought a new Death Cab for Cutie song called "Million Dollar Loan," while the morning of Oct. 11 delivered a wry, uptempo song by Aimee Mann written from the Donald's point of view, called "Can't You Tell?"

"I wanted to write about Trump in the first person because I think it's more interesting to speculate on what people’s inner life might be," writes Mann in the post accompanying her contribution. "I had heard a theory that Trump’s interest in running for President was really kicked off at the 2011 White House Correspondent’s dinner when President Obama basically roasted him, so that’s where I started. And my own feeling was that it wasn’t really the job itself he wanted, but the thrill of running and winning, and that maybe it had all gotten out of hand and was a runaway train that he couldn’t stop."

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Before the first week is out, the project's organizers promise new songs from the hip-hop trio clipping. (featuring Hamilton star and Oakland native Daveed Diggs), local indie favorites Thao Nguyen and Bhi Bhiman, and a new live track from everyone's favorite liberal uncles (and documented Trump haters) R.E.M.

Per the project's mission statement, a note signed "Artists For a Trump-Free America":

As artists, we are united in our desire to speak out against the ignorant, divisive, and hateful campaign of Donald Trump. We will not be duped by Mr. Trump’s rhetorical contortions, by his pandering and lies and false promises. He has shown the content of his character time and time again, and the very fact of his candidacy is a blight on the nation. His words incite hatred and celebrate inequity. Most troubling of all, over the past year, the country has become inured to the towering vileness of his rhetoric and deeds, his attacks on women, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, and those with disabilities. But we have to remember these acts, and act against them. In the words of Cornell West, we cannot become "well-adjusted to injustice.”

If the one-new-thing-a-day premise sounds familiar, it's probably because the project is brought to you by the same folks behind 90 Days, 90 Reasons, which in 2012 recruited writers and artists to pen essays that motivated voters to elect President Obama for a second term.

But while those pieces of writing were sweet, convincing (for many) and full of renewed hope, it must be said: there's really nothing like a protest song. Just ask Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg, or NOFX's Fat Mike, who in 2004 recruited other punks and alternative acts for two full Rock Against Bush compilation albums and a tour to help prevent Bush's re-election.

Of course, we all know how that one turned out. In this election, as of this writing, we have 28 more days of crazy-making headlines and (I'll speak for myself here) constant, low-humming anxiety. But hey: at least now it's got a nice new soundtrack.

 

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