I spent Sunday sick on the couch resting and listening to music when I came across the fantastic new album from England’s IDLES, Joy as an Act of Resistance. Blimey, it’s great stuff.
IDLES are a powerful, socially conscious post-punk band who have arrived at just the right time in post-Brexit England and the rising nationalism in Europe. Frontman Joe Talbot rages, yells and growls in a gravel-toned but well articulated voice that’s made for the stage. “Danny Nedelko” is written for Talbot’s musician friend, a Ukrainian immigrant. It’s a refreshing embrace of our shared humanity and a pithy analysis of the roots of racism:
My blood brother is an immigrant
A beautiful immigrant . . .
He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood
He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love
He’s made of you, he’s made of me
Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain
Pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate . . .
Take that Nigel Farange. Take that Marine Le Pen.
As I tapped my toes to the song, I got to wondering: where are the great post-Trump anthems? I say post-Trump because being anti-Trump isn’t enough. What we need are songs that reject Trump and transcend the stain he’s smeared on America. Like a gangrenous limb, Trump’s supporters and the president himself are symptomatic of a greater sickness. Eminem is a vocal Trump critic, but he mainly lets loose on his Trump-loving fans. That’s not what we need. YG and Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” is catchy and direct, but doesn’t call us to something better. Loudon Wainwright III makes a clever effort with “I Had a Dream,” but it’s lightweight.
I’d like to see the great post-Trump anthem come from the North Bay, a redoubt of staunch Trump opposition and a deep musical talent pool. So how about it North Bay songwriters, who’s got the musical antidote to Trump’s poison? Give us a song to sing as we head to polls Nov. 8. And send it to the Bohemian—we’ll help spread the word.
Stett Holbrook is the editor of the ‘Bohemian’ and the ‘Pacific Sun.’
Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].