Soon after the first mention of Donald Trump’s status as presumptive Republican Party nominee, a friend raised a scary thought: “Maybe if Trump becomes president, hardcore will get good again.”
He’s not wrong. From Reagan and Thatcher to Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1 (side note: Why did they make so damn many Rock Against Bush comps?), punk and hardcore bands have often thrived most under loathsome right-wing regimes. Everything about a possible Trump presidency is horrifying and wrong — except the possibility that it might inspire some choice musical responses from angry punks.
It's happened several times in the last 30-plus years: A politician or political movement comes along that's so noxious, even the most ardent non-conformists can't help coming together and writing songs about it. As far as western politics go, Reagan, Thatcher, and George W. Bush are the Big 3, but fully developed blasts of seething hate have been levied against reactionary figures from Tipper Gore to the Pope. Add to that songs about hating government in general, anti-white-pride anthems, and the fact that every single gosh darn hardcore band in existence has a song about how much they dislike the police, and you’ve got yourself an almost bottomless canon.
How would this inevitable backlash play out in a Trump presidency? Would powerviolence and its tangential subgenres make a comeback as more people realize that disembodied pig screech vocals hide the fact that nothing rhymes with "orange"? Would NOFX crawl, bloated and Manic Panic–stained, out from under the slip 'n’ slide toward nostalgia? Will Melania Trump fall victim to scandal if she dresses up as a member of Pussy Riot at Putin’s Annual Oily Lizard People Illuminati Sex Party and Halloween Costume Contest?
Hopefully, the world will never know. But I’d suggest listening to this playlist, figuring out a couple of power chords, and checking RhymeZone for whatever rhymes with Trump at some point between now and November. You know, just in case.
Disclaimer: Yes, I am aware that the material presented in this playlist represents but one extremely biased SJW pro-castration feminazi demon’s point of view on what constitutes an introduction to political hardcore. It’s my god-dang list. If you’ve got a burning desire to hear Skrewdriver or any conservative, white nationalist, Islamophobic, etc. punk bands (because yeah, those actually exist), don’t you dare come crying to me. Too bad.
Disclaimer 2: Obviously, a whole mess of bands aren't on Spotify or other streaming services (Crass, for starters, but also everybody who put out a flexi when they figured out Gavin Newsom sucked). If you believe the world deserves unprecedented access to the world’s largest collection of punk and hardcore records, zines, photos, flyers, and more, then donate to the Maximum Rocknroll Archive and Database project.