The Washington Post's pop music critic Chris Richards, who recently called Beyonce's pro-Black Panther performance a "Super Bowl victory," says that Donald Trump's music playlist at his rallies are "authoritarian" and cultivating an atmosphere of "danger."
"That’s because Trump’s rallies have become malignant assemblies where violence is not only tolerated, but encouraged without shame and practiced without remorse," Richards writes.
It's Trump's own "distinct soundtrack" that accompanies and "shapes the psychology of the room." A soundtrack, Richards furthers, that is "populated exclusively by other white men" including Elton John, the Rolling Stones, and Johnny Cash, to name a few. There is one song included that is performed by the female group The Shangri-Las, which is implied by Richards as stroking Trump's ego: "Leader of the Pack." However, Richards reminds us about the end of that song: "[D]idn't the leader of the pack die in a nasty motorcycle wreck?"
Richards comments on the attendees and in the process, actually negates his initial premise that the music is charging them up:
Nobody’s singing along to any of these tunes. Nobody’s bobbing their head. Nobody’s even chewing their Doublemint to the backbeat. Nothing. Instead of energizing this crowd, Trump’s playlist simply replaces silence with a different kind of emptiness. It creates an absence of mood, an anti-mood — authoritarian hold music.
He mentions that many have complained at Trump's rallies that the music is too loud. But, Richards says, that is a bit of "an ominous little prophecy: If you’d like to be heard in Donald Trump’s America, your options will be to shout or to be Donald Trump."
In the end, the critic believes that Trump's playlists are insidious at best, provoking his supporters to saturate the rallies with a most horrendous sound -- the crowd chanting their patriotism: "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
"A sound," Richard says, "that feels more assaultive than it ever should."
Richard ends with little left to the imagination about how he feels about many American voters and surely many readers of his publication (that is NOT The Onion, at least as far as we know):
These songs don’t pump people up. They make everyone feel comfortable — in their indignation, in their suspicion, in their hostility. The songs that Trump has chosen couldn’t be more banal, yet it’s precisely their banality that makes them so incredibly effective. They infuse the hateful atmosphere he cultivates with an air of utter normalcy.
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