umpy, overweight, orange-skinned, he burst on the music scene with a verve unequalled since the debut of the Velvet Underground. Three parts attitude and one part sheer gall, singing the blues as only a spoiled rich kid could, Trump soon made a name for himself in a world in which talent is distinctly subordinate to style. A punk sensibility clothed in a lounge lizard’s scales, hit after hit rolled from the caverns of his gold-plated mind. Nothing like it had been seen before—or since.
Where song-crafters like Paul Simon and Gary Osborne wrote of the importance of breaking down barriers in relationships, Trump boldly advocated them. In “We’re Gonna Build a Wall” he celebrated the virtue of separation, of building obstacles to communication and understanding, and making the other party pay. In “You Can Do Anything” he celebrated the endless possibilities that life offers the wealthy, the approach being to “grab ’em by the pussy” (a deliberate evocation of the famous line from The Plumbers, “get ’em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow”). He boldly explored the mysteries of forbidden love in ballads like “Can You Believe It” and “If She Wasn’t My Daughter.” And of course there was his much-covered theme song, “You’re Fired.” Probably no one has ever so hauntingly evoked the myriad dazzling facets and features of the life of the ultra-rich.
The recent accolade granted this crazy-haired troubadour should not blind us to his multifaceted genius. Something more than a mere prize-winning laureate, The Donald is also something less than the classic composers of days gone by. Their day is passed, but his—dare we say it?—is only beginning.