10 new albums to help vote out Donald Trump

Political albums from October 2020

As the fucked-up doom of the US election looms, here's a look back at October's political news and the best new music that related to it. What albums would you suggest? Comment on , or 

*NEW* Stream a podcast of this column, including all the music, .


On October 2, US President Donald Trump was  with the coronavirus after refusing to wear a mask. On October 5, he re-emerged, seemingly unaware he was on , claiming the coronavirus had made him feel "20 years younger" and on the White House balcony like some mentally deranged monarch. Having none of it was The Descendents' punk singer , who released his new on October 7 containing the lyrics: "Monarchy in the USA. Is that the way you want it to be?" In a similar vein, two days later, Milwaukee jazz guitarist Pamela Means released her impeccable , which opens with the words: "Cashing in on the environment, rolling back rights that we died to get, corporate tax breaks permanent, I don't think that's what Jesus meant. The President is incompetent, an embarrassment. Impeachment Now!"


On October 16, Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of more than 70 women and non-binary singers that formed after the 2017 Women's March against Trump, released their , complete with an illustrated lyric book to sing at protests. "This Joy was recorded in New York City over the space of several months, with the chorus working around COVID-quarantine, and taking to the streets to protest for ," say the group. Striving to centre women in music and address how historically marginalised women have been in the music industry, the chorus have a manifesto of finding joy through protest, manifested on the album in songs such as "Joy In Resistance" and "Wild Womxn Pussy Power". The album came as Trump, infamous for his "grab 'em by the pussy" line, desperately tried to appeal to women voters in the run-up to the election.  


Also grounded in the streets is the from experimental techno producer Speaker Music, who riffs on Trump's "Make America Great Again" with his motto: "Make Techno Black Again". The song “African American Disillusionment With Northern Democracy Continues to Smolder in Every Negro Who Has Settled Up North After Knowing Life in the South”, with its news anchors discussing white agitators at Black-led protests, will be food for thought for many white activists, along with the album's educational booklet. On October 16, the city of Portland, Oregon, alleging Trump violated the US Constitution by deploying heavily armed agents to crack down on local street protests. The suit came days after Portland musician David Rovics released his new album, , which tackles the battles raging in his city's streets.     


On October 23, as Trump in Florida, Colombian-born US electronic musician Ela Minus released her , Acts Of Rebellion, which is inspired by anti-capitalist theory. It came just days after the socialist party of Bolivia was swept in elections that rejected a US-backed coup, reviving hopes of a political "" sweeping South America once again in defiance of decades of US meddling. In an interview on October 6, a long-time supporter of the Cuban Revolution, veteran musician Silvio Roriguez, his new album, Para La Espera. He said the meaning of the album's title is twofold: It alludes to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and to the nearly two-decade wait for the release of the Cuban Five, intelligence officers arrested in the US who have become national heroes.


One of the is Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was given US approval last year to wage war on the women fighting for a feminist, eco-socialist democracy in Kurdistan. As to support the women in October, US feminist punk band War On Women released their new album, which hits out at the US President and his ilk. The title track, "Wonderful Hell", emerged during a period when vocalist Shawna Potter was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by life in the Trump era. “I think it expresses something that a lot of people are feeling," she . "Like, ‘OK, we had our moment. Now it's time to get back to work. We can't let this happen again. We can't endure another four years of this.’"


On October 9, Trump's re-election bid was officially by Afghan Islamic fundamentalist warlords the Taliban. A week later, long-time punk provocateur Jello Biafra released his , containing the song "Taliban USA", which compares the sexist, repressive politics of the Afghan military organisation to those of Trump's Republican Party. On October 7, Democratic vice presidential hopeful Kamala Harris praised the United States' "" during her debate with Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence. But just days earlier, a the 19-year US-led "war on terror", begun in Afghanistan, had displaced more than 37 million people. Trump instantly rejected his endorsement from the "terrorist" Taliban. But on October 24, a that far-right groups are behind most US terrorist attacks.


On October 23, famed Democrat Bruce Springsteen released his new album. The rock'n'roll icon said he'd deliberately avoided taking direct swipes at Trump on the record, but his lyrics have always been . On “House of a Thousand Guitars” he sings: “The criminal clown has stolen the throne. He steals what he can never own.” And on "Rainmaker", which describes a demagogue who tricks farmers into believing he can end a drought, he : "Rainmaker says white's black and black's white. Says night's day and day's night... Rainmaker, take everything you have. Sometimes folks need to believe in something so bad, they'll hire a rainmaker." Rolling Stone of the song: "He perfectly dressed his message in a melody made for a stadium singalong. Springsteen has said he wrote the song before Trump took office, but the fact that it’s coming out now speaks volumes."

8. BON JOVI - 2020 

On October 2, Springsteen's friend and fellow New Jersey musician, Jon Bon Jovi - famed for No.1 hits such as "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name" - released his surprisingly outspoken , 2020. Discussing the political turmoil of the year, he : "If you're a writer, this is fertile ground. I mean, it's almost put me in this position emotionally right now that I don't know why I would ever wanna rewrite 'You Give Love a Bad Name', you know?" On "American Reckoning", written as protests broke out over the police killing of African-American George Floyd, he sings: "America's on fire. There's protests in the street. Her conscience has been looted. And her soul is under siege. Another mother's crying, as history repeats. I can't breathe." Addressing it, he : "If I'm not the poster-boy for what could be described as white privilege, then who is?"


On October 23, during the final presidential debate before the US election, Trump tried to "shame" his rival, Joe Biden, he didn't support climate-wrecking fracking. The same day, Shemekia Copeland - hailed as "" - released her radical , which contains the fitting song "Money Makes You Ugly". Over powerful guitar, she hollers: "The ice is meltin' and my lawn’s on fire. The world's got a fever gettin' higher and higher. Raping mother nature, fracking up the earth. Selling off the land for all that it's worth. Just a little blue rock flying through space. Whoever told you that you own this place? Money makes you ugly, baby that’s the truth. Money makes you ugly, you’re the living proof." The album was produced by multi-instrumentalist Will Kimbrough, who acclaimed political album the same day.


On October 8, 93-year-old wildlife presenter David Attenborough announced a new environmental award, the , to “help to repair our planet over the next 10 years”. Days earlier, classical composer Steven Price had released the soundtrack to Attenborough's new documentary in which the presenter describes watching the world being destroyed over his lifetime and calls for a "rewilding" of the planet. On October 18, anarchist intellectual Noam Chomsky, 91, discussed his in which he advocates for much the same thing. Noting that Trump is an even bigger threat than Adolf Hitler - since Trump's scrapping of nuclear treaties and environmental regulations threatens not only Jewish people, but the entire human race - the long-time critic of the Democratic Party resignedly : "If you don't push the lever for the Democrats, you are assisting Trump."  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mat Ward has been writing for Green Left since 2009. He also wrote the  Real Talk: Aboriginal Rappers Talk About Their Music And Country and makes political music. This year, he released a concept album about the media  as "edgy, daring and new". You can download the deluxe version free for a limited time .

Stream our new "Protest albums of 2020" playlist on Spotify This replaces  at more than 500 albums.

Read about more political albums .

Stream Green Left TV's political music playlist .

The multi-award-winning journalist John Pilger says: "There are few other newspapers — radical or any other kind — that draw together news and analysis that is as well informed, credible, and non-sectarian as Green Left. Its work has influenced mine and has been a beacon to those who believe the press ought to be an agent of the people."