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Alterkaker Hot 3

2016: U Can’t Always Get What U Want

One final look at the 2016 election, through music:

Say what you will about Trump – and apparently that’s what everyone is doing – his choice of campaign theme song was genius (whoever thought of it should have been made Chief of Staff). From a Trump voter’s perspective, the title line of the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want (from Let It Bleed, 1969) is a thumb-in-the-face to the “entitled” who really really didn’t want Trump to win. “But if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need” completes a perfectly Trumpian declaration: You may not want me as President, but you need me.” Even if the lyrics didn’t have any relevance to Trump, it would still be the best tune of the political season because, with the London Bach Choir singing backup, it’s just that good a song.

Dire scenarios of the Trump presidency are being painted day-by-day -- so dire as to predict that America is on the Eve of Destruction. The song of that name, written by P. F. Sloan and recorded by Barry McGuire in July, 1965, was the first (and perhaps only) pure protest song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Let it serve as inspiration to those hitting the streets. Plus the song is pretty funny in how dated it sounds -- sort of like a parody of protest songs.

“Don't wanna be an American idiot, Don't want a nation under the new media.” The title track from Green Days’ American Idiot (2004), with its notion that mass media has encouraged delusion and idiocy among the masses, speaks to the political landscape in a manner both sides would probably agree on – albeit in very different ways. And the song contains the perfect epitaph for the 2016 presidential campaign:“Now everybody do the propaganda, And sing along to the age of paranoia.”

Finally, a video of Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth (with very young Stephen Stills and Neil Young), recorded in 1967:

“There’s something happening here, What it is ain’t exactly clear.”


For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield