R.E.M. share live version of “World Leader Pretend” for anti-Trump singles series — listen

A previously unreleased recording of the Green track for 30 Day, 30 Songs


In a fit of prescient songwriting, R.E.M. wrote the perfect anti-Donald Trump track almost 30 years before the Sour-Pussed Shriveled Tangerine was even dreaming of running for president. “World Leader Pretend” off 1988’s Green has a verse in it that goes, “I’ve a rich understanding of my finest defenses/ I proclaim that claims are left unstated/ I demand a rematch,” which is essentially a poetic abstract of everything Trump has been spouting off these past few weeks. Hell, there’s even phrase, “I raised the wall/ And I will be the one to knock it down” in the chorus, and you practically can’t say “wall” without thinking of Trump at this point.

Which all goes to say that “World Leader Pretend” is an incredibly fitting entry for the anti-Trump music series 30 Days, 30 Songs. Listen to a previously unreleased live version of the track below.

Past 30 Days songs have come from Franz FerdinandDeath Cab for CutieAimee MannJim JamesThao of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, and EL VY, who actually released a video game along with their entry.

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