[MUSIC] THE SAVAGE ANIMAL
"The Obama Birthday Playlist"
BY MIKEY MIGO|
On August 4th, 1961 Barack Obama was born. Now, 49 years later the dude is the President of the United States of America. Despite what you may think about his policy, you can't deny the man has quality and respectable taste in music.
Just recently, he was on "The View" and was briefly asked about what's on his ipod. He brought up Jay-Z and Sinatra. But he made a point to proclaim to the entire world "I do not have Justin Bieber". I don't think anyone even asked, but it seemed like he was excited to throw that in there. Like I've said at least three times a day my entire life, if there is one thing I respect is a strong negative opinion towards bad music. Good on Barack for that.
There were reports that Obama played "99 Problems" by Jay Z at a victory party in Des Moines. I remembered him answering stuff about his music tastes in Rolling Stone. It's almost weird to say I knew just about the exact issue he said it in so I went and dug it up. He said growing up he was into Earth, Wind, and Fire and Elton John but Stevie Wonder was his "musical hero" during the 70s. Now a day he's a fan of the Rolling Stones, Ludacris, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, and classic jazz legends like Miles, Coltrane, Charlie Parker, etc. He seems to be a huge fan of Bob Dylan. I can let that slide, I guess. Getting all creepy stalker-like, I went went on his facebook page. I've had him in my "Likes" for awhile, but it's not like we "poke" each other or go "wall to wall". Any who, it says his favorite music is Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Johann Sebastian Back (cello suites), and The Fugees. So yeah, not too much difference there. Then during the 08 Election Blender asked him his ten favorite songs. The list isn't bad at all. He had "Ready or Not" by Fugees, "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, "I'm On Fire" by Bruce Springsteen, "Gimme Shelter" by Rolling Stones, in a respectable shock "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone, showing Chicago some love with "Touch the Sky" by Kanye West, "You'd Be So Easy to Love" by Sinatra, "Think" by Aretha, "City of Blinding Lights" by U2, and whatever when it comes up to "Yes We Can" by will.i.am. You can't really hate on that list. It's got some iffy stuff, but overall it's not a bad list. If a friend had that listed for one of their random playlist I'd not mock them (too hard). It's got the right amount variety in there and for the love of god does NOT have Nickelback on it.
So yeah, he's got a pretty decent musical palette. Now the hard part as I try to put together a decent playlist for the leader of the free nation. It's his Birthday Party list, so I don't want to get all down tempo and slow or too political. A party is a party no matter who's celebrating it. Enough researching and pondering, let's get into the list!
Heroes by David Bowie
It's a classic Bowie song and represents "the American dream" better than most songs I can think of. And yeah, I fully acknowledge that Bowie isn't American but that doesn't matter. I'm very surprised no big political candidate hasn't used THIS SONG as their campaign mantra and theme. Maybe this will inspire him for the 2012 Election? Who knows. I just like the song. It's relaxed and a good way to ease into the playlist.
Answer To Yourself by The Soft Pack
They're a newer rock group, but they're a great throwback to a somewhat Stones-ish era and a little like Dylan if you stretch your mind a little. I like this song because it's got an upbeat message, it's catchy as hell, and is one of the better new rock songs I've heard. The verses are so rose-color positive that it reminds me of an Obama speech in many ways. Then the chorus is a little off with "I think I'm going to die before I see my time/I think I'm going to die tryin' anyway". The whole "not giving up" thing would play well in today's America.
Chicago by Frank Sinatra
I have to sneak in some Chicago love where I can. The big man is a fan of Sinatra and this is a perfect track to kill two birds with one stone. (No animals were harmed in the typing of that sentence)
Way Down in the Hole by Steve Earle
The song is unconventional for a playlist like this, but it's not a long song. I toss this on there because I know the President is a fan of the great HBO show "The Wire" and this is the theme song from it. Each season had a different person singing it and I'm going with the Steve Earle one because I just enjoy getting the chance to plug the guys work as much as possible. I'd also suggest to Mr. President to try to sneak in watching "Treme", which is made by the same people who brought us "The Wire".
So Fresh, So Clean by Outkast
Obama is pimptastic. You can be on either side of the political world, but you cannot deny Obama's swagger and style. JB Smoove's jokes about how Obama's smoothness, especially how he walks down the stairs is hilarious stuff but so true. Call me strange, but when I think of songs that are "pimptastic", I think Outkast. I'd almost pay to see an Obama highlight video to this tune on YouTube. I hope someone; anyone takes that hint and runs with it.
Wasteside by Regina Spektor
He's a fan of Nina Simone, so he's obviously a fan of soulful and powerful female singers. Consider this his modern day upgrade that's NOT named "Sheryl Crow". I'm going with this song because she's as/if not more emotive and passionate on this track as any others she has. I have no doubt in my mind that Obama would appreciate Specktor's soulful chops. Then again, that should go for everyone and not just him.
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
You have to think that the President has to feel like this song sometimes. The groove and rock make for a good party song, and the lyrics start off with "I don't wanna hear about it" and goes into a fairly reasonable tirade. I know the world is kind of in need of his full attention, but seriously what's the worst that can happen if he got a little bit of Katt William's "f**k it" in his system?
Sunday Bloody Sunday by Saul Williams
He listed "City of Blinding Lights" by U2 on his Blender list in 2008. So if he IS in fact a fan of U2, then I think by law he must be a fan of "Sunday Bloody Sunday". I'm going with the Saul Williams cover from "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust" album. It's just as impactful and has a more danceable beat.
Ulysses by Franz Ferdinand
At this point, I hope people are tipsy enough to not make playing this bigger than it is. This song is not something Obama should play publically, but enjoy on his own. I am amazed this song isn't a monster hit, but just about everyone that's heard it has fallen in love with it. The whole "C'mon let's get high" stuff is not proper content for Barack to be rocking out to, but the song is just so catchy and fun. Say I'm forcing my opinion here on the President all you want, but dammit more people need to accept this songs greatness. Why not start at the top?
Definition by Blackstar
On his facebook he cites "Fugees" as a favorite. This means he's most likely a fan of well versed and education-minded hip hop. It makes sense for him to love or in the least be able to enjoy himself some Blackstar. Talib Kweli and Mos Def are two of the smartest lyricists out there and this is a classic. In fact, any President that doesn't like Blackstar is not MY President. No pressure of anything.
King of the Road by Dean Martin
I'd want to end this with some swagger and class, so of course that means I have to tap "The Rat Pack" sources once again. I didn't see anything about him liking Dean-O anywhere, but it's just safe to assume he's down with any friend of Frank. This song is a great closer to an Obama playlist. It's a free spirited song about being care free in America, it's awesome, and with all the traveling the man has to do he surely is "The Kind of the Road". I'm sure there's a "Main Street/Wall Street" joke in there somewhere, but I'll spare us that.
I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) by Stevie Wonder
We'd have to close this party mix out with a good one. I'd think the last song and last dance would be reserved for dancing with Michelle. So this was easy for many reasons. As we went over earlier, Barack's favorite growing up was Stevie Wonder. This track is in the movie "High Fidelity". For those who live under a rock, that movie is about John Cusack being a music snob and exploring the concept of true love, but on top of that it's pretty much a love letter to the city of Chicago. That ties in… and well, the song is beautiful. Of the songs on the list, I'm pretty confident that THIS one would definitely be loved by the leader of the free world.
And THAT is the playlist I'd give President Obama for his 49th Birthday. If you didn't tell, I treated this playlist like I would for any friend. The way to do it just right is to know what they like and give them that, something similar, and something completely fresh that you think they'd like if given a chance.