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Review: "A Kindly Reminder"

by Aaron Cerbone - News Editor
Tue, Feb 28th 2017 10:00 pm

Political unrest makes for some great music. From the classic Vietnam-era rock-and-roll protest songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Dylan to today's hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino, expressing dissatisfaction with the government makes for some excellent listening.

With Donald Trump as the new president of the United States, there is plenty of new political protest music available but one latest release has come from someone surprising.

British folk singer and songwriter, Michael David Rosenberg, better known as Passenger, has taken up his complaints about Trump in his song, "A Kindly Reminder".

"A Kindly Reminder" has everything a good protest song needs: soft strumming  on an acoustic guitar; sarcastic political commentary and the "f-word."

In only 22 lines, the song manages to cover the travel ban, business conflicts, climate change, China, "grabbing," small hands, tax reports and the infamous border wall.

There have been a number of ways other Trump protest songs express their criticism. There is a more direct route like in YG and Nipsey Hussle's "F*** Donald Trump," or a metaphorical route like Gorillaz and Benjamin Clementine's "Hallelujah Money".  

These kinds of songs are anti-Trump anthems with a specific audience, people unhappy with Trump's actions and policies in mind.

The song's different approach speaks to a broader audience. Passenger takes the position of a disgruntled person, unhappy with a political leader. This is an inherently relatable position and is very accessible for listeners who may only be on the fence about Trump's actions.

Passenger is the perfect artist to do this. He is not the first person you would expect to play this song and his warm and sarcastic vocals deliver lines like, "maybe it's 'cause your hands are so small/That's why you have to build such a big f****** wall" and "And I know this song won't change your thoughts/We're more likely to see your tax reports" with beautiful elegance.

Passenger keeps the song from being too preachy by taking on a light and sarcastic tone, it is a protest song that knows it is a protest song. With an infectious melody and a relatable point of view "A Kindly Reminder" is entertaining, political and could very well be effective. This song, more than most others, may find listeners actually listening.

And Passenger's kindly reminder?

"It's not okay to grab women by the vagina."