One would think that any musician who watched Donald Trump's announcement yesterday would be surprised to find their music used as the candidate's entrance and exit theme music – mostly because Trump's iPod is likely filled with his own books on tape, like Think Big and Kick Ass, read by the author.
Not only did Trump select an actual song for this moment, but a song by one of the most outspoken, anti-corporate, liberal songwriters of the modern era.
If Trump has heard that song before, he's clearly never listened to the lyrics:
We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man / We got a kinder, gentler machine gun hand / We've got department stores and toilet paper / Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer / Got a man of the people says keep hope alive / Got fuel to burn Got roads to drive
Donald Trump stands for literally everything that Neil Young hates. Consumerism, big business, wars, industrialism at the expense of the environment, spray tans, arrogance, and shit made of gold. How anyone on Trump's team (assuming he has one) thought "Rockin' In The Free World" would be a good choice is baffling.
Besides, he already has the perfect song that makes nearly all Americans think of him immediately.
Of course, Young himself, who on June 30 will release an anti-corporate album called The Monsanto Years, couldn't let this slide. Here's his response, posted to Facebook:
Yeah, a 460-word response. Not exactly a form letter from a lawyer.
Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Fox News that the campaign did, in fact, have permission to use the song. He said: "Through a licensing agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin' In The Free World.' Nevertheless, there are plenty of other songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes him very much."
The Monsanto Years, for those interested, is a collaborative album between Young and Willie Nelson's sons, Lukas and Micah. Not exactly a conservative group.
Here's a Neil Young song that talks about how, when the ecosystem finally collapses, only rich people will be able to board the spaceships headed for a new world.