If there’s one upside to political turmoil and socially conservative eras it’s that it can often inspire great underground art.
“The Reagan era was such a great era for punk and indie rock,” said Sleater-Kinney member and Portlandia force Carrie Brownstein in an interview with Rolling Stone last year. “So I think we’d have an explosion of passionate, vitriolic music coming out of all genres under Donald Trump, or someone even more intense, like Marco Rubio or Ben Carson. When it comes to music, we should be hoping for as outlandish a Republican candidate as we can get.”
While the polls seem to indicate that the chance of Donald Trump sliding into the White House is slim, several bands have already turned outlandish Trump headlines into inspirations for songs. Dave Eggars has quarterbacked a “30 Days, 30 Songs” effort to release thirty anti-Trump songs in the lead-up to the election. Latino artists banded together last year for a show of solidarity for a song called “We Are All Mexican.” Then there was Nicki Minaj’s controversial line that may or may not have been directed at Melania Trump.
Though in a year where one candidate happens to be the first female nominee of a major party and the other has said some of the most disrespectful and outlandish things about women in recent presidential political history, it’s not much of a surprise then that every notable Feminist-with-a-capitol-F band has decided to weigh in on the election.
In fact, Pussy Riot kind of did it by accident, but by on a karmic level it sort of makes sense. The band was famously imprisoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin (a guy who seems to have a particular interest in this election), and their name includes a word that’s also a big part of one of Trump’s most controversial quotes.
The song “Straight Outta Vagina” is a celebration of women’s power and a repose to all men who seek to deny it.
“This song could be considered an answer to Trump,” member Nadya Tolokonnikova told The Guardian about the political happenstance. “But I believe the idea of powerful female sexuality is much bigger than any populist megalomaniac man…Vagina is bigger than Trump.”
The visually jam-packed video for the protest banger includes women of all shapes dancing in front of urinals, dapper men in suits and high heels, and a cadre of female body builders.
Le Tigre may have been something of an American predecessor to Pussy Riot. The Kathleen Hannah-fronted band’s lyrics were warring for social justice before that was even a buzz term, and though the band went on hiatus in 2011 they decided to return for an anti-Trump, pro-Hillary song dubbed “I’m With Her.” Naturally, the video finds the electro-punk band members rocking out in pantsuits.
Though Brownstein herself hasn’t weighed in on the election in song, her band Sleater-Kinney put out some of the best political songs of the Bush-era on their album “One Beat.” Brownstein’s co-founder Corin Tucker has formed Filthy Friends, a supergroup that also includes members of R.E.M. and Wilco, and the band’s debut track is “Despierta.”
“The gold watch strapped around your wrist must have stopped some time ago,” goes one of the opening lines, in case you had any doubt it was aimed at Trump.
So Le Tigre, Pussy Riot and members of Sleater-Kinney, maybe that’s not every feminist band ever, but those are certainly enough bands to headline some sort of giant Riot Grrrl festival.
Of course, there’s still a little less than two weeks left before the election, so who knows who else will decide to drop some sort of musical response to Trump (you know, some modern musicians love to surprise us), but for now that’s enough to pack a mini E.P. of Election day songs.