Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama vs McCain on music

Political Wire reports on an item from Blender listing the presidential candidates “favorite” songs. You can be sure that these lists were put together by campaign strategists with the intent on reaching out to certain constituency groups and only vaguely reflect the actual musical tastes of the candidates. But I think they are interesting none the less:

Barack Obama
1. Ready or Not Fugees
2. What's Going On Marvin Gaye
3. I'm On Fire Bruce Springsteen
4. Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones
5. Sinnerman Nina Simone
6. Touch the Sky Kanye West
7. You'd Be So Easy to Love Frank Sinatra
8. Think Aretha Franklin
9. City of Blinding Lights U2
10. Yes We Can will.i.am

John McCain
1. Dancing Queen ABBA
2. Blue Bayou Roy Orbison
3. Take a Chance On Me ABBA
4. If We Make It Through December Merle Haggard
5. As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson
6. Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
7. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong
8. I've Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra
9. Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters

Obama’s list is heavily weighted towards rock, R&B and hip-hop, but they are careful to throw in a Frank Sinatra tune to appeal to the older generation. Frankie turns out to be the only crossover between the two lists.
Obama’s list is also weighted towards black artists with six of the 10 falling into that demographic group compared to just 3 of 10 on McCain’s list. Obama has three female artists counting the Fugees, while McCain has just one if you count the double dose of Abba.

Both lists are, in fact, carefully balanced in their own way. Obama has three contemporary black artists - Fugees, Nina Simone and Kanye West; and two classics - Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin.
Then we have two classic rock picks - Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones; and one contemporary rock by U2 (which also classifies as classic sometimes).
Then they throw in the YouTube hit by will.i.am that features Obama himself giving an inspirational speech.
The Sinatra selection is the oldest song on Obama’s list followed by the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin in the 60s and Marvin Gaye from the 70s. Everything else is more current.

McCain’s songs, by contrast, are very much older with nothing dating more recent than 1977. Apparently McCain’s interest in music died with disco.
He has a particular fondness for Abba with two of their songs making his list. Their 1977 disco smash “Take A Chance On Me” is the most recent song on his list followed by Abba again in 1975.
The Neil Diamond and Merle Haggard songs both date to the late ‘60s as does the Louie Armstrong song, while the Beach Boys are mid ‘60s. Then we have Roy Orbison and The Platters dating back to the ‘50s followed by Doolie Wilson and Frank Sinatra going back even further.
And yes, Doolie Wilson played Sam in “Casablanca” which is where he sang the song “As Time Goes By.”
Merle Haggard is the only country artist on either list (I’m sure Bush would have picked quite a few more) and neither candidate picked anything by The Beatles.

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