From Bob Dylan to Beyonce, President Barack Obama has it all on his summer playlists.
In a rather unusual move on Friday, the White House decided to kick off its official Spotify channel with the release of Barack Obama’s two personal playlists, reports the Wall Street Journal. The lists, dubbed “day” and “night,” respectively, feature an eclectic mix of songs — from legendary numbers by Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane to relatively unknown darker tracks by Colombian salsa band Sonora Carruseles and Spanish-born hip-hop singer Mala Rodriguez. The president has it all in his locker.
Barack Obama may well be remembered as the nation’s first Deep Tracks President, because his hand-picked playlists are not just some arbitrary mashups of favorite oldies and inspirational gung-ho anthems, as has often been the case in the past, but simply choices made by a true music connoisseur, who would probably not want a beloved song to miss the lists.
President Obama has often been accused of staging populism by Republicans, but the makeup of his playlists does not present to us a man who has an outwardly political agenda behind the release. For once, it is possible that the White House just wanted to share what the president was listening to. As Billboard wrote in its report on Barack Obama’s musical choices, there is nothing deep to be garnered here, except perhaps to celebrate Obama’s inclusive (and unapologetic) taste in music.
“If there’s anything about Obama’s current political or psychological state to be drawn from the playlists, it’s the sense of the president as an utterly relaxed lame duck with nothing to prove or sell. When he suddenly seemed to be down with Jay Z midway through his first term, Obama was accused of trying to court the youth vote, but there’s nothing here to suggest he’s playing to any constituency but the demo of 54-year-old boomers who still have their fingers on some pulses. Even if you didn’t know the purported curator, the personality profile you might put together from the song choices would be that of a cool, calm, and collected cucumber whose strong undercurrents of passion aren’t likely to lead to any untoward outbursts.”
Slate also cast an eye on Barack Obama’s choices, and pretty much reached the same conclusion.
“But these playlists feel different from the bland, pseudo-populist hodgepodge that his campaign staff picked out for him three years ago, when he [Barack Obama] was wrestling for votes with Mitt Romney. In short, these feel like the summer playlists of a man who has no more elections to win.”
Social media went immediately into overdrive after President Obama released the lists. Some people agreed with the president, while many thought Obama was wrong in leaving out some of the world’s most famous musicians.
There may still be some time left before Barack Obama leaves office, but his summer playlists reveal a man who is already looking forward to the vacation.
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