Track of the Day: 'Speak English or Die'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

For our new series of songs themed on presidential candidates, readers have already submitted ones for Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. Today a reader sends “Donald Trump’s theme song,” which should be taken tongue in cheek:

Speak English or Die is the debut studio album by the crossover thrash band Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.), released in December 1985. The album has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The album had some controversy due to the politically incorrect lyrics. Bassist Dan Lilker stated, “The lyrics were never intended to be serious, just to piss people off.”

His bandmate Scott Ian expanded on that sentiment:

We weren’t trying to do anything when we made that record. We wrote a bunch of fucking ridiculous songs that made us laugh. The whole twenty-two minutes, or whatever it is, is just a big inside joke. And it worked; it fucking worked. And people… Well, not everybody, ‘cause some people hated it. Some people thought we were racist, and those people are stupid. But a lot of people got the joke all over the planet and laughed along with us, and it was fucking awesome.

(Track of the Day archive here. Access it through Spotify here.)