Q Song?

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Update 9/21/2022 — See "'Mirrors' composer rejects Richard Feelgood and Donald Trump" for confirmation by the original composer of the plagiarism documented below.

Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, "Trump Rally Plays Music Resembling QAnon Song, and Crowds React", NYT 9/18/2022:

Former President Donald J. Trump appeared to more fully embrace QAnon on Saturday, playing a song at a political rally in Ohio that prompted attendees to respond with a salute in reference to the cultlike conspiracy theory’s theme song.

While speaking in Youngstown in support of J.D. Vance, whom he has endorsed as Ohio’s Republican nominee for the Senate, Mr. Trump delivered a dark address about the decline of America over music that was all but identical to a song called “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.”

As Mr. Trump spoke, scores of people in the crowd raised fingers in the air in an apparent reference to the “1” in what they thought was the song’s title. It was the first time in the memory of some Trump aides that such a display had occurred at one of his rallies.

Aides to Mr. Trump said the song played at the rally was called “Mirrors,” and it was selected for use in a video that Mr. Trump played at the conservative meeting CPAC and posted on his social media site, Truth Social. But it sounds strikingly like the QAnon theme song.

The crowd reacted with extended-arm forefinger salutes, a gesture apparently inspired by the "one" part of the QAnon slogan "Where we go one, we go all" — though also reminiscent of Nazi salutes.

The music, and the reaction to it, was widely noted, e.g. by Chas Danner ("Trump’s Latest Rally Was Even Weirder Than Usual", NY Magazine 9/18/2022):

At the end of his speech, eerie music began to play on the loudspeakers as Trump reached the part of his remarks where he ominously goes through a list of all the many ways America and the world are becoming an apocalyptic hellscape without him as president. The music was a song inspired by the QAnon conspiracy theory. And while this was happening, many in the crowd raised their arms and pointed a finger upward. It’s not clear what the gesture meant.

And according to Alex Kaplan in Media Matters ("Official video posted to Trump’s social media account appears to use QAnon song", 8/10/2022), the same music was featured in an 8/9/2022 Trump video promoting his rallies:

Former President Donald Trump appeared to use a song named after the slogan for the QAnon conspiracy theory in a video promoting his rally speeches, which some in the QAnon community have hyped as supposedly corroborating the categorically false conspiracy theory and the movement it has inspired.

On August 9, Trump posted a video on his social media platform Truth Social featuring footage of himself speaking at his rallies and criticizing President Joe Biden. The video featured background audio and visual imagery of rain and thunderstorms before switching to a rising instrumental musical track.

According to a Media Matters review using both Google’s voice assistant and Apple’s Shazam app, the music in Trump’s video is a song titled Wwg1wga, produced in 2020 by an artist using the name “Richard Feelgood” on Spotify. The acronym “wwg1wga” is a common shorthand in the QAnon community for the slogan “Where we go one, we go all.” Discussion of a supposedly imminent “storm” is also important in QAnon lore, referring to a prophesied event where Trump’s perceived enemies — who are also supposedly part of a global satanic cabal of pedophiles — would be arrested and possibly executed. The phrase “the best is yet to come,” which was also featured in the video, is another popular refrain in the QAnon community. The Spotify album featuring Wwg1wga lists other songs whose titles also seem to be about QAnon, including Q Send Me and I Am Q.

An 8/12/2022 update to that article:

A Trump spokesperson claimed to Vice that “the track on the video is not a song titled ‘WWG1WGA’ by Richard Feelgood, but rather … a song called ‘Mirrors’, by TV and film composer Will Van De Crommert, who has composed music for Saturday Night Live and the 2016 Rio Olympics, among others.” However, as Vice notes, “the songs are identical, according to a professor of music theory.” Media Matters has also used the audio editing software Audacity to analyze isolated audio tracks of both Mirrors and Wwg1wga, and found their audio profiles to be virtually identical.

So I thought I'd check it out, and also give all of you what you need to check it out yourselves.

I found Mirrors here, and Wwg1wga here.

I recorded the audio from each source in mono, and then combined and aligned the recordings in Audacity as a stereo file. As you can see, the waveform patterns are very close, though not identical:

If we compare shorter time-windows, we can see that the overall dynamics are millisecond-by-millisecond in synchrony:

Without looking into the details any further, I'll speculate that the small differences are the sort of thing that might result from slightly different lossy compression pathways between an original studio version, the online repositories, and sox's reconstruction of the sample sequences on my computer.

In any case, if we play the two recordings simultaneously as a stereo file, we can hear that the small differences don't matter to the perception of effective musical equivalence:

My mono versions of the two originals are here: Wwg1wga, Mirrors. But if you want to explore and explain the small differences, I'd suggest that you get the bits yourself from the cited websites (or other places where the same music is available).

It remains unclear to me whether "Richard Feelgood" is a pseudonym for Will Van De Crommert, or whether "Richard Feelgood" simply stole the song, or what. I imagine that this issue will get clarified over the next few days.

FWIW, here's Trump's August 9 video — the Q song gets prominent around 1:40:

And a video of the music playing in the background of Trump's Ohio rally:


In the unlikely event that you've managed to avoid becoming Q-aware, you could start with the Wikipedia article.

My curent favorite is the Q-adjacent theory that "Queen Elizabeth II was a reptile", which springs from a 25-year-old claim by David Icke :

Icke believes that an inter-dimensional race of reptilian beings called the Archons have hijacked the earth and are stopping humanity from realising its true potential.[15][20] He claims they are the same beings as the Anunnakideities from the Babylonian creation myth the Enûma Eliš, and the fallen angels, or Watchers, who mated with human women in the Biblical apocrypha.[19]

He believes that a genetically modified human/Archon hybrid race of shape-shifting reptilians, known as the "Babylonian Brotherhood" or the Illuminati, manipulate global events to keep humans in constant fear, so the Archons can feed off the "negative energy" this creates.[15][124] In The Biggest Secret, Icke identified the Brotherhood as descendants of reptilians from the constellation Draco, and said they live in caverns inside the earth.[125]

In fairness, I don't know of any indication that the Trump campaign is pushing the reptilian explanation. Though who knows what the future may bring — perhaps naively, I would not have predicted the explicit Q embrace.

 

Update — see "More Q-song copying?", 9/20/2022, and "'Mirrors' composer rejects Richard Feelgood and Donald Trump", 9/21/2022.

 

 



14 Comments »

  1. Dwight Williams said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 11:22 am

    I would have predicted that embrace. Trump knows who his base is by now.

  2. J.W. Brewer said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 1:55 pm

    It is not entirely clear to me whether the "Richard Feelgood" who has apparently self-released thus far at least six albums named "Silver Cloud" (the item here is from Silver Cloud 5) is the same recording artist who has also released several albums with all of the song titles in Finnish, but several internet sources seem to assume they're the same, and Silver Cloud 3 has one Finnish-titled number. Not sure what would have motivated Mr. van de Crommert to set up a fake Finnish alternative/sock-puppet musical persona at least as early as 2017 just so that that persona could seemingly* embrace QAnon themes beginning in 2020?

    Soundcloud claims that the van de Crommert "Mirrors" track was released (with the rest of the "String Theory" album) on June 29, 2019, while other internet sources give the release of Mr.* Feelgood's "Silver Cloud 5" album as September 23, 2020. Which implies priority for van de Crommert although of course relative sequence of release (even informal self-release) need not be the same as sequence of composition or sequence of recording.

    *Putting politically-charged titles to instrumental compositions whose sound does not particularly evoke the theme of the title in a didactic program-music kind of way is a potentially weird thing to draw inferences from, especially with an extremely obscure and probably pseudonymous recording artist.

    **Don't know his academic credentials or legal name, but wouldn't want to confuse him (?) with the great https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Feelgood_(band)

  3. Gregory Kusnick said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

    "Where we go one, we go all" is a curious slogan (derived, apparently, from a Ridley Scott film called White Squall). The intended sense of solidarity seems clear enough: "where one goes, all go". But how "one goes" becomes "we go one" is a bit of a puzzle.

  4. Breffni said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 3:30 pm

    I've always thought either the reptilians from the constellation Draco had only the vaguest idea where they came from, or David Icke has only the vaguest idea what a constellation is.

  5. KeithB said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 4:10 pm

    As far as the waveform patterns go, wouldn't you expect to see about that much variation in two different versions of the same song?

    [(myl) In a word, NO.

    Peggy Lee's "I'm a woman" vs. Maria Muldaur's "I'm a woman", aligned at the time of the first "I" (in "I can wash out…"). Here's what the overall waveforms look like:

    Here's a shorted segment of the beginnings:

    Here's the pseudo-stereo audio, given that alignment:

    Not even close.

    I'll bet a month's salary that any of the thousands of other cases of X covering Y will be like this, NOT like wwg1wba against Mirrors…]

  6. AntC said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 4:59 pm

    (T****'s words seem an echo of "Ain't no mountain high enough".)

    We're in dangerous territory polling innocent ears about soundalikes: take the $5m awarded against Robin Thicke for 'Blurred Lines's alleged similarity to Marvin Gaye.

    I've had the unfortunate experience of getting dragged into the 'Music for Relaxation and Sleep' industry. I wouldn't call it music. I listened to some of the other tracks on Feelgood's and on Van De Crommert's albums. There is endless hours of this vapid cruft. No harmonic progression; high synth'd strings; plinky-plonk raindrops in the background.

    None of it helps me relax: it's so awful.

    It all sounds the same. It wouldn't atall surprise me two different 'composers' have churned out similar-sounding marshmallows. Neither would it surprise me if there's only one 'composer' under multiple identities regurgitating the stuff endlessly.

    So 'they' messed up maybe. And T****'s sound desk didn't care. They're probably getting stiffed, like all his lawyers.

  7. AntC said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 7:16 pm

    Thank you @JWB. Investigating Feelgood's (alleged) oeuvre further, other than the vacuous stuff, there seem to a diverse range of 'soundscapes' from 'grunge' to 'house' to (almost) lullabies to vaudeville. All of them very derivative. I greatly doubt they were the fruit of one mind; I suspect they're all just ripped off. Many on Silver Cloud 5 have Q-aligned titles.

    The Finnish that @JWB refers to on SC3 is presumably 'Sipilä kurlaa'. Sipilä is a common Finnish surname; in particular of a Prime Minister known for the most White, most male and least culturally diverse cabinet of recent years. Allegations against Sipilä's tax evasion/attempted changes in investment law; unconstitutional attempted changes in labour regulations; family conflicts of interest; and efforts to strong-arm various government agencies and the State broadcaster/journalists seem eerily familiar.

    Might this be another Q/U.S. Right meme?

  8. Gabriel Holbrow said,

    September 19, 2022 @ 8:00 pm

    I have been consciously trying not to listen to Mr. Trump for a while, so watching the clips of this rally were the first time I have heard him speak in a long time. His speech style is very different from what I remember–specifically, he appears to be following a script that is identifiably in written style, instead of speaking in extemporaneous talking style. Can anyone tell me, was this rally a marked departure for him? Or had his style changed so that this is now typical? Or am I misremembering what his rally speech style was before?

  9. Stan R said,

    September 20, 2022 @ 12:11 am

    I listened to both tracks–they are one and the same. You don't need Audacity to confirm this. This is not Stairway to Heaven vs Spirit…any copyright expert would tell you in 5 seconds it's open-shut!

  10. David Marjanović said,

    September 20, 2022 @ 2:16 am

    Can anyone tell me, was this rally a marked departure for him?

    Supposedly yes. I haven't listened to him much either.

  11. John Swindle said,

    September 21, 2022 @ 7:31 am

    Trump’s followers get some finger exercise doing their little salute, but at least the music is awful.

  12. AntC said,

    September 21, 2022 @ 4:15 pm

    Youtube "Trump rally sounds EXACTLY like a church service" — I think that's the track in question being played under this commentary.

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