The first song on my new Truth Assassin album is called Law and Order. It’s about 1:40 long, a good and typical length for a punk song. The song was inspired by Trump’s continual usage of “law and order” on his Twitter feed and his public statements about the protests following the death of George Floyd. The basis of the song is the irony I found that a man who promotes “law and order” has had no less than eight close associates charged and/or convicted of crimes and is under investigation for crimes himself. If you want to listen to the song first before reading the rest of my explanation, visit the Truth Assassin Bandcamp page.
The hypocrisy makes me cringe, so I wanted to build a song around the idea that the president’s talk is cheap, and that he only cares about “law and order” when it putting himself in a good light, but never those close to him or even himself.
So I began to put the song together…
One of the ways songwriters come up with new riffs is by playing around on a guitar while recording it. You put different chords together and see if you can come up with some unique rhythms. With Law and Order, I felt like I had a head-bopping, grooving, four-chord riff, using the A, D, C, and G chords in succession.
As I played around more with the riff, it seemed like it would fit as a good intro to the song but the more I played it, I thought it would work as the rhythm guitar to the verses, as well, so I laid down several measures and started to write lyrics that fit the rhythm and the atmosphere of the song.
The lyrics of the first verse went like this:
Law and order? It’s all for cover, weekly trips to your tax shelters
Never a trust, just sidestep by it emoluments are flying by, yeah
FBI in the same location, stifling all competition
Welcoming the interference leads the way to your impeachment
I was making the point that the president’s comments about “law and order” was a ruse, based on how much his company has made by his continual visits to his own personal properties paid for by taxpayer dollars, the fact that he never put his interest in his company in a trust like previous presidents had done, and that he was receiving emoluments from foreign government officials who were staying at his properties. The part about the FBI references his direction for the FBI to stay in its rundown headquarters building in Washington DC, as he was not interested in having that space turned over to a developer to build a hotel so close to his hotel in the old post office building. The last line, of course, refers to his several statements welcoming election interference, which was the basis of his impeachment by the House of Representatives.
At the end of the first verse, I change the rhythm guitar riff and add in a two-string guitar fill that is in the same scale as the supporting riff. Then, I decided to go right back into the second verse:
Law and order? It’s chaos out there all because of Black men shot dead
Fires rage across the heartland, women and men with fists raised shout, yeah
Thousands line up at your doorstep, picketing lines won’t move for the feds
Launch the gas at calm protesters, clear the way for the new dear leader
The lyrics in this verse refer to the protests that erupted following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. It was quite a chaotic scene across the country as some of the protests descended into riots, though it is important to note, most protests were peaceful. The second half of the lyrics again refer to the incident at Lafayette Square. I chose to use the term “dear leader” because of Trump’s seeming infatuation with dictators, autocrats, and other tyrants, many of whom command cults of personality, similar to Trump.
At the end of this verse, I added a bridge that used a variation of the first guitar fill to provide continuity between the first and second verses.
Then, as I was contemplating how the rest of the song would go, something hit me. Trump seemed invincible vis-a-vis the law and I didn’t know what we could do about it. That led to this lyric:
Laws don’t apply to you and we don’t know what to do
I began to play around with the different notes and rhythms for how I could incorporate it into the song, I settled on going from a high to low pitch to evoke a sense of helplessness. But one of my favorite things to do with vocals is to harmonize when I can, similar to how the quintessential hardcore political punk band Bad Religion does.
I’m not trained vocalist by any means, but I do what I can. So I worked on it and came up with two vocal tracks that harmonized in the right places.
From here, I wanted to build up the song to a powerful ending, so I brought back the guitar riff from the verse, palm muted it, and added a different drum beat. Then, I had a build up of drums and guitar until the ending of the song explodes with the lyrics:
Laws do apply to you and we’re coming after you
The song speeds up at the end continuing the guitar riff and fast drums that use the crash cymbal instead of the standard hi-hat, which adds to the crescendo effect as the song ends.
This song is one of my favorite songs on the new album, called The Downfall of Democracy, and that’s why I put it first. I think it has an intriguing and eventually explosive beginning, has a good message, and some cool guitar fills and harmonizing vocals. It also seemed fitting to have the first song on an album called The Downfall of Democracy be titled Law and Order…
You can check out my new album by clicking the images below, which will take you to Truth Assassin’s Bandcamp page. Click the image below to listen to the song for free.