US President Barack Obama’s playlist | music news
As earworm sister (brother?) Crikey blog The Stump noted, US President Barack Obama released his re-election campaign musical playlist via music streaming service Spotify.
Playlists are often used to try to get someone to love the compiler so what does Obama‚Äôs playlist reveal about his need for voters to at least like him? Really, really like him.
Not much. Listening to the 29-song strong ¬†— too long! — playlist it‚Äôs apparent these truly are ‚Äúpicks by the campaign staff – including a few of President Obama’s favorites‚ÄĚ rather than the US Commander-in-Chief‚Äôs personal choices. It‚Äôs a politically-savvy playlist by committee designed not to upset the vast majority of middle America. Much like Obama‚Äôs presidency to date, cynics may claim.
There‚Äôs nothing from the unseemly and potentially upsetting hippity-hoppity brigade for starters.
Genuine classics (Aretha Franklin‚Äôs cover of The Band’s¬†The Weight, Al Green‚Äôs Lets Stay Together, Green Onions by Booker T & The MGs) nestle uncomfortably among lesser ‚Äď much lesser ‚Äď tracks by the likes of former Hootie & The Blowfish singer Darius Rucker.
(Someone inexplicably believes Darius Ruckers is worthy of two inclusions here. His ‚Äėalways look on the bright side of life‚Äô This, for example, is vomit-inducing stuff with Rucker ruminating on how his misfortunes were all for the best really ‚Äėcos he‚Äôs such a lucky man to have met his wife. By the time he‚Äôs noting ‚ÄúHow I cried when my mama passed away/But now I’ve got an angel looking out for me today‚ÄĚ listeners may wonder what‚Äôs next: ‚ÄúLost my job/Lost my house/But met you at the soup kitchen‚ÄĚ?)
Lyrically, everywhere, it‚Äôs all mostly clich√©d, broad-stroke stuff about ‚Äústanding up‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúrising up‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúliving dreams‚ÄĚ and ‚Äď oh yes ‚Äď ‚Äúhope‚ÄĚ. Because hope is important.
The inclusion of U2‚Äôs Even Better Than The Real Thing isn‚Äôt exactly Obama‚Äôs (or more likely, his people’s)¬†Born In The USA misinterpretation of a song moment but it‚Äôs a misstep since it’s basically about phony fakes. Its opening ‚ÄúGive me one more chance and you‚Äôll be satisfied‚ÄĚ line doesn‚Äôt do much to dispel perceived widespread disappointment at Obama‚Äôs first term as president either.
And, while on the subject of The Boss, it‚Äôs Bruce Springsteen who shows other included comparative youngsters like Arcade Fire and Wilco how to put together a brilliantly emotive flag-waver. We Take Care Of Our Own, from his forthcoming Wrecking Ball album¬†‚Äď- despite taking potshots at US government ineffectiveness over Hurricane Katrina (non)rescue efforts ‚Äď will have even many non-American listeners ready to declare unswerving allegiance to Uncle Sam.
In some ways, the playlist is the perfect election campaign soundtrack. It‚Äôs a long hard slog that leaves everyone feeling just a little sullied by compromises made along the way.
At least No Nostalgia by Agesandages definitely sounds like the kind of song Obama‚Äôs travelling election campaign team can sing together on the campaign bus, Tiny Dancer style.
When Ricky Martin‚Äôs mid-compilation arrival perks things up considerably it‚Äôs a bad sign.
How‚Äôs that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya?
Spotify is not currently available in Australia. Listen to Barack Obama‚Äôs full election campaign playlist via Rdio¬†HERE.