Some very lovely music about Donald Trump has been released this week. That’s thanks to the launch of the “30 Songs, 30 Days” project in which the author Dave Eggers has gotten medium-to-big names in rock to record songs advocating for a “Trump-free America.” The effort might seem like it’d be purely propagandistic—surprise, pop culture supports Democrats! But the results, three days in, have been surprisingly enjoyable examples of artists taking creative inspiration from politics.
The best track so far is Aimee Mann’s “Can’t You Tell,” which the rock singer says was inspired by the theory that Trump spitefully decided to run for president after Barack Obama roasted him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It’s a straightforward, lilting folk song sung from Trump’s point of view. The verses brag of invulnerability—“You ask about my plan but baby my plan is to win / I wind up all the tops and watch the others keep the spin”—but the chorus is surprisingly vulnerable. In an ever-more-fragile tone, Mann pleads, “Isn’t anybody going to stop me? / I don’t want this job / I don’t want this job, my God / Can’t you tell / I’m unwell.” The notion that Trump never truly desired to be president is an liberal caricature, but Mann is imagining it with humanity—you feel bad for the guy, and for everyone affected by him.