By D. A. Buckna

“Commander in Chief” is a political ballad by American singer-songwriter-actress Demi Lovato, co-written with Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels and its producers Finneas and Eren Cannata. The song was released as a single by Island Records on October 14, 2020, with lyrics directed towards President Trump – calling him out for his response to racial injustice, the COVID-19 crisis, and more.

In the accompanying music video, Lovato is joined by several people from all walks of life, as they mouth the lyrics and give expressive performances:

Commander In Chief – Demi Lovato

Later that evening, Lovato performed the song live at the Billboard Music Awards telecast (NBC, October 14).

From Variety.com: But after the telecast aired, it seemed to be stirring more controversy among the left than the right, surprisingly as a result of a TMZ report about edits made to the performance by the network. The website published what it said was the original edit of Lovato’s performance in which a large electronic backdrop was to have lit up at the end, revealing the word “VOTE” in huge white letters. This was not the version seen on the telecast, which had Lovato’s performance ending with an awkward closeup of the singer looking down, and no sign of the “VOTE” visual.

Here is the edited version, broadcast on NBC:

Demi Lovato – Commander In Chief (Live At Billboard Music Awards 2020)

The following day (October 15), The Lincoln Project – the American political action committee formed in late 2019 by several current and former Republicans – released their own video of Lovato’s ballad:

Watch:

Commander In Chief – Demi Lovato


Commander In Chief – Demi Lovato

[Verse 1]
Were you ever taught when you were young
If you mess with things selfishly, they’re bound to come undone?
I’m not the only one
That’s been affected and resented every story you’ve spun
And I’m a lucky one
‘Cause there are people worse off that have suffered enough
Haven’t they suffered enough?
But you can’t get enough of
Shuttin’ down systеms for personal gain
Fightin’ fires with flyers and prayin’ for rain
Do you gеt off on pain?
We’re not pawns in your game

[Chorus]
Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do
I couldn’t sleep, seriously
Do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dyin’
While you line your pockets deep
Commander in Chief, how does it feel to still
Be able to breathe?

[Verse 2]

We were taught when we were young
If we fight for what’s right, there won’t be justice for just some Won’t give up, stand our ground
We’ll be in the streets while you’re bunkering down
Loud and proud, best believe
We’ll still take a knee while you’re

[Chorus]
Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do I couldn’t sleep seriously
Do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dyin’
While you line your pockets deep
Commander in Chief how does it feel to still
Be able to breathe?
Be able to breathe?

[Bridge]
Won’t give up, stand our ground
We’ll be in the streets while you’re bunkering down
Won’t give up, stand our ground
We’ll be in the streets while you’re

[Chorus]
Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do
I couldn’t sleep, seriously
Do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dyin’
While you line your pockets deep
Commander in Chief, how does it feel to still
Be able to breathe?
Able to breathe


Music writer Dorian Lynskey writes in The Guardian (Oct. 15/20): “Lovato has timed the song’s release to encourage younger Americans to vote as an ugly election campaign approaches its conclusion. The single’s artwork depicts her in a mask with VOTE written on it. Commander in Chief skilfully captures the emotion that will likely drive more voters to the polls than any policy: a soul-sick exhaustion with Trump and what he has done to his country, and how he has squatted rent-free in so many heads for so long. You do not have to love Joe Biden to want to be rid of that – to throw open the windows and let out the poison gas at last. Lovato and her collaborators have created an extraordinary protest song that is perfectly of-the-moment but I hope it sounds even better after 3 November.”

More info:

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato: Twitter

Demi Lovato: Facebook

Demi Lovato: Wikipedia

Commander in Chief (song)

Lyrics: Commander In Chief

Commander In Chief – Demi Lovato

Message For Fans To ‘Vote’, Muzzled by NBC During Airing of Billboard Awards

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