When Politics And Pachelbel’s Canon Collide

As I’ve said before, the nineties were some of the best years for music. In 1994, a group called Blues Traveler released an album called Four. Four was a certified six-time platinum album owing its success largely to songs like “Runaround”, which charted at #8 (Billboard Hot 100) and which also won a grammy for Best Rock Performance by a duo or group.

The genius of the album is found in its lyrics, particularly the musical theory meta hit, “Hook.” I won’t go into detail as this is pretty widely known, but you can click here if you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation than the one that follows. The song uses a simple chord progression common in popular songs, but its lyrics take a jab at listeners. The cleverly penned lyrics boast of their meaninglessness and how that doesn’t matter because the hook of the song will bring listeners back time and again. “Hook” does all that it claims it will do and in 1994, listeners reacted just as the lyrics predicted and “Hook” charted at #23 (Billboard Hot 100).

I heard this song on the radio this morning and naturally, Donald Trump came to mind. Donald Trump’s campaign is nothing more than word salad drizzled with the Tea Party’s sleazy oil and vinegar rhetoric pompously dumped on America’s democratic dinner plate. And unsurprisingly,  Americans are eating it up. The song’s lyrics begin:

It doesn’t matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection
That makes you feel I’ll convey
Some inner truth or vast reflection
But I’ve said nothing so far
And I can keep it up for as long as it takes
And it don’t matter who you are
If I’m doing my job then it’s your resolve that breaks

As if Donald Trump has taken a cue from “Hook” he blatantly begins his September 2015 Dallas speech, with the following:

Wow. Amazing. Amazing, thank you. So exciting. Do you notice what’s missing tonight? Teleprompters! [APPLAUSE] No teleprompters. We don’t want teleprompters. That would be so much easier: We read a speech for 45 minutes, everybody falls asleep listening to the same old stuff, the same old lies.

There is something amiss
I am being insincere
In fact I don’t mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near

Donald’s letting us know that during the course of his presidential campaign it won’t matter what he’s actually saying because the hook is going to bring the American people back time and again. He informs the American people that politics are essentially a lie and that no one’s actually listening to the speeches anyway so he can get away with standing at a podium for 45 minutes blowing hot air.

“Hook” continues:

To confuse the issue I refer
To familiar heroes from long ago

And Trump delivers:

“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” 

Many were quick to point out that Trump had tweeted a Mussolini quote. Trump didn’t care. Nor did his supporters, many of whom are unable to differentiate between Hitler’s quotes and The Donald’s.

But it’s okay …

Because the Hook brings you back
I ain’t tellin you no lie
The Hook brings you back
On that you can rely

Which brings us to the song’s ending:

So desperately I sing to thee

of rage and hate and pain

“Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump said. And, ” When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Also, “Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.”


Could be financial suicide

Four of his businesses have filed bankruptcy. via Politifact

but I’ve got too much pride inside

He’s a narcissist. No, really. Everyone’s saying it.

Many of us thought Trump’s presidential bid was a joke. Yet, he’s actually growing in popularity.

I will go on all day. Hear what I say
I have a prayer to pray
That’s really all this was
And when I’m feeling stuck and need a buck
I don’t rely on luck because…

… the American people are so ignorant and they just don’t care that I’m a charlatan. “I love the poorly educated,” he said.

The far right in America heard the whispered hook of GOP and Tea Party rhetoric and Trump is singing it loud and proud and they love it so hard. You can hear it throughout the nation. That whispered hook has now swelled to a deafening chorus.

The Hook brings you back
I ain’t tellin‘ you no lie
The Hook…
On that you can rely

What’s the hook? Hatred. Bigotry. White supremacy. Make America white again. Trump is playing a political version of Pachelbel’s CanonIt’s a lazy progression of rhetoric, formulaic even, and Trump knows it’s popularity among the far right. He knows it’s a guaranteed win, and like “Hook,” the joke will be on the listeners if Trump succeeds.

I wanna bust all your balloons
I wanna burn all your cities to the ground


I fear the hook has already embedded itself in the American public as video after video of Trump rally violence and racism surfaces. The hook has done what it was meant to do. It’s infected its listeners, and I fear it may be too late to rid America of the volatile earworm of white supremacy currently propelling Trump to the White House.

How sad that in these modern times, America is the Pan in a progressive land, refusing to grow because the Hook of hatred and racism just keeps bringing us back to this endless cycle of ignorance.

The Hook brings you back
I ain’t tellin you no lie
The Hook…
On that you can rely…

On that you can rely…


“Hook” written by John Popper, Blues Traveler (lyrics)


  1. K.S.,

    Trump is acctually pretty cool.
    He makes a lot of sense and I personally think he’s genuine.
    He’s obviously used to saying what he’s thinking without having to explain. Thats for sure. But I honestly think he wants to right whats wrong with our government.
    As for four failed businesses? He has many more successful ones!
    And the quote about sheep and lions? It can be true or false regardless of who has said it. “Give me liberty or give me death.” Is similar in meaning. A USA founding father said that one.
    But if you can judge a man by who hates him then George Soros makes Trump look like Henry the 5th!
    This presidential election is about USA sovereignty verses Globalization. Pure and simple.


    1. Donald Trump speaks on a fourth grade level, and to even suggest that is being generous and if you think this man’s genuine, if you think he makes sense, if you think with his misogyny, racism, bigotry, and fundamentalist ideals, that he’s what’s right for this country, then I have to conclude that you’re foregoing the morally right thing to do and not support trump, which leaves me further pondering what sort of Christ centered teaching you’re about. Aside from his mockery of this entire political process, there’s an overwhelming lack of experience in matters of state and foreign policy. He has no business being CIC.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s