Campaigns/Elections

Obama's iPod

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Rolling Stone, which endorsed him for prez earlier this year, has an interview with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The big hook? What's on his iPod:

Growing up in the '70s, Obama said, he listened to the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire. Stevie Wonder is his musical hero from the era. The Stones' Gimme Shelter tops his favorites from the band.

The Illinois senator's playlist contains these musicians, along with about 30 songs from Dylan and the singer's Blood on the Tracks album. Jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker are also in the mix.

Obama is also partial to rap, with the following proviso:

"I am troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism of a lot of rap lyrics," he said, "but I think the genius of the art form has shifted the culture and helped to desegregate music."

He said hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and rappers Jay-Z and Ludacris were "great talents and great businessmen."

"It would be nice if I could have my daughters listen to their music without me worrying that they were getting bad images of themselves," he added.

More here, via USA Today.

Excerpts from Rolling Stone Q&A here.

Needless to say, this sort of exercise is as useless as it is attention-grabbing.

Back in 1993 (wasn't that a time!), Andrew Ferguson looked at the soft-rock predilections of Bill Clinton for National Review. It's still worth a read.

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  1. Well, Bill Clinton is by a mile the greatest president of my lifetime, and the National Review is a fetid dumpster disguised as journalism, but that article had me laughing out loud. very good.

  2. And Barack Obama goes for the greatest stupidity of our time – the idea that you are what you like. I call it MySpace disease, where you find out what the “audience” you’re seeking to impress likes (or thinks they should like) and try to have the greatest possible amount of that stuff.

  3. “Not only do I love Bruce’s music, but I just love him as a person,” Obama said. “He is a guy who has never lost track of his roots, who knows who he is, who has never put on a front.”

    Interesting. The Boss is every bit the social construct that Obama is…

  4. For a such a radical candidate dedicated to hope and change, he sure has boring taste in music. No David Alan Coe?

  5. “I am troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism of a lot of rap lyrics,” he said

    So Obama’s stating that he believes that there more to life than bitches and money?

  6. I wish someone running for President would have an iPod full of Gwar.

  7. Wow, he included Jay-Z and Ludacris in that “genius art form” statement. The art form he speaks of, namely hip hop, was created by others and shat upon by pop artists like Jay-Z.

    For shame!

    Not that Rolling Stone is still relevant anyway. I haven’t seen a new artist on the cover in years.

    Rolling Stone Editor: “Hey Jimmy, how’s that feature on the new super-group coming? You know, the one with the washed-up singer, long ostracized by his former band, joining the washed-up band whose lead singer died before VCR’s were invented.

    “Just think of all the nostalgia-chic points we’ll get!”

  8. Rolling Stone won’t die until the Boomers do. Although, personally, I’d hate a magazine who’s sole purpose was to remind me of when I used to be cool. Couldn’t they just put out a gray pony-tail edition of Spending my Grandchild’s Inheritance Magazine to cover that?

  9. Is there nothing the Boomers won’t ruin?

  10. Personally, this seems like a rather safe iPod playlist… about as carefully constructed as the man’s campaign.

    Is it too much to ask to see something on there that makes me think “what is that”? I mean, I’m pretty safe on my playlist myself, but even I’ve got the occasional Deadsy or Under The Influence Of Giants track on there…

  11. “the National Review is a fetid dumpster disguised as journalism”

    IDK aside from their religiosity and social conservatism I find them to be decent defenders of free markets. The article on nuclear power last month ruled.

    I have a feeling my obsession with Death/Black Metal is gonna hamper my presidential campaign.

  12. Is there nothing the Boomers won’t ruin?

    Rolling Stone won’t die until the Boomers do.

    And who says the Gen-whatevers are whiners?

  13. Ther is nothion more to life than bitches and money!

  14. Epi-

    What the “greatest generation” has not already ruined.

  15. And Barack Obama goes for the greatest stupidity of our time – the idea that you are what you like.

    You are what you love, Randolph. And not what loves you back.

  16. I’d like to see Obama’s opinion of Soulja Boy. Did he destroy rap, as Ice T has said? What is Barrack’s opinion, as a fan of rap (-misogyny and materialism).

  17. By the way, I agree that Obama’s response to the Ipod question seems designed by a marketing committee.

    “OK, we’ve got the ‘Boomer’ elements – now let’s throw some jazz in there, white people expect the cool black guy to listen to jazz.”

    People who put jazz on their Ipod are only doing it so they can tell people later that jazz is on their Ipod.

  18. Fluffy,

    I’d even upgrade that to “people who listen to jazz only do so to brag to other people they listen to jazz.”

    I don’t like jazz, so sue me.

  19. I like some jazz, but am not a fan of the genre as whole. That said, it isn’t on my ipod, because I only have like 20gigs, and its full of other stuff I prefer, at least while commuting or exercising.

  20. Interesting. The Boss is every bit the social construct that Obama is…

    Your kind should stick to the comfort zone of Larry the Cable Guy and Lee Greenwood.

  21. I don’t like jazz, so sue me.

    Which jazz?

    I can listen to George Benson play guitar for hours on end.

  22. Jazz is enjoyable mostly when under the influence of drugs. I stopped listening to my extensive Miles Davis collection pretty much the day after I stopped smoking lots of weed.

  23. Which jazz?

    I don’t think jazz is bad, or jazz lovers are evil or anything… what I really hate is jamming in all it’s forms and jazz just ends up sounding like that to me (whether actually produced by jamming or not.) I’m a big fan of very tight songs. Musical ADD or something. Listening to anyone play anything for hours on end fills me with dread, and , more importantly, boredom.

    I’d also rather deafen myself with unsharpened pencils than listen to Frank Zappa.

  24. After the Wright imbroglio*, do you really think he’d let it be known that he listens to NWA, 2Pac and Public Enemy? Granted, it would be a lot cooler if he had some Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash or Curtis Mayfield (though with his drug history, liking the artist behind Pusher Man may be trouble). Obama, and most politicians, likely have two iPods, the one that they show to the media for stupid puff pieces and the one they actually listen to.

    * An underused word.

  25. McCain has an iPod, but ripping glass-base transcription discs to it takes forever.

  26. After the Wright imbroglio

    Wouldn’t it be more of a kerfuffle, or possibly a fiasco? Perhaps a boondoggle?

  27. Gimme Shelter is a good choice for his favorite Stones song.

  28. You can’t really argue with Earth Wind and Fire – their music is still very enjoyable – but I agree that the list seems very crafted. It’s not that it’s impossible for someone to actually have all of these things on their iPod (I do), but that they would list them first and foremost when asked what was on their iPod.

    Why not newer jazz/big band stuff? Why always the classics, but nothing that evolved from that genre? The response could have been a lot more interesting, but instead they seemed to have thought they’d like it to be a non-issue, which is also respectable.

  29. I’m a big fan of very tight songs.

    George Benson — White Rabbit — nuff said

  30. I don’t think John McCain would know how to use an iPod.

  31. but that they would list them first and foremost when asked what was on their iPod.

    It’s the difference between fluff piece and investigative journalism. A real journalist would have stolen his iPod and published his “Most Played List.”

    An embarrassing amount of Indigo Girls is my bet.

  32. I was into the jazz guitarists . . never could listen to the horn guys.

  33. I don’t think John McCain would know how to use an iPod.

    He’s a big fan of the iPod. He hid with that uncomfortable hunk of plastic up his ass for five years.

  34. Jazz banjo is where it’s at, baby. Let’s give it up for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

  35. Who gives a shit what fake playlist is contrived for his fake ipod?

    I’d rather here some hard core FACTS about this “change” strategy, instead of the creation and marketing of his image to appeal to a bunch of celebrity obsessed shallow idiots.

  36. Concerning the jazz comments… 🙂

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/arts/music/29kapl.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Good thing wasting money on stuff like sending jazz musicians on an international tour is part of our modern tradition of pissing money down the drain.

    This was far worse than today, however. At least now we’re wasting what amounts to little more than Monopoly money compared to the hard currency they were throwing away in the 50’s…

  37. Citizen Nothing,

    Not to nitpick, but bluegrass is still Fleck’s forte. Hell, you know someone’s reached a low point when he’s being “experimental” with Joshua Bell.

  38. People who put jazz on their Ipod are only doing it so they can tell people later that jazz is on their Ipod.

    Or they actually understand and like it.

  39. And…

    A real journalist would have stolen his iPod and published his “Most Played List.”

    SugarFree wins the thread.

  40. “No David Alan Coe?”

    Uhhh, DAC has a back catalog that is a BIT problematic. I think “Nigger Fucker” alone would probably do in any candidate.

  41. “Bluegrass is still Fleck’s forte.”
    I’m with you, NP. If only Bela agreed.

  42. That was the joke, henry.

  43. Good thing wasting money on stuff like sending jazz musicians on an international tour is part of our modern tradition of pissing money down the drain.

    The part I found interesting was that a man who was being abused by the government because of his skin color could use his position as a musician to at least influence the very system that was infringing upon his “unalienable rights” as a human.

    [Armstrong canceled a 1957 trip to Moscow after President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to send federal troops to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce school-integration laws. “The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell,” he said. “It’s getting so bad, a colored man hasn’t got any country.” …. Two weeks later, facing pressure from many quarters, Eisenhower sent the National Guard to Arkansas. Armstrong praised the move and agreed to go on a concert tour of South America. …. The idea was to demonstrate the superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union, freedom over Communism, and here was evidence that an American – even a black man – could criticize his government and not be punished.]

  44. On Point:

    Looks through iPod contents

    Finds jazz music

    Thinks to self – “Uh oh, I better remove this stuff. People may think I listen to it for reasons other than the fact I like it.”

  45. An embarrassing amount of Indigo Girls is my bet.

    There is no other amount of Indigo Girls than an embarrassing one.

    Though I don’t expect that is what we’d find on Obama’s iPod. It’d be all Shatner, baby!

  46. Citizen Nothing,

    Yeah, really. I’ve got no problem with crossover per se. But the real problem is (you know what’s coming), established artists in the original genres almost always do a better job, so whoever attempted to cross over end up serving not their listeners but themselves.

  47. BTW, what’s up with all this Indigo Girls hate? You guys honestly (and I mean honestly) hate “Closer to Fine”? Liars.

  48. he sure has boring taste in music. No David Alan Coe?

    There are probably people who would freak out if they found Elvis Costello in his playlist.
    Although the Cure would be okay, in post-9/11 America.

  49. There are probably people who would freak out if they found Elvis Costello in his playlist.

    As long as it is ska-free, then it’s OK.

    Ska = Not OK!

  50. Ska = Not OK!

    Oh, come on… If there’s one president that should have the Specials on his playlist, it’s Obama. (Well, I suppose if Rudy ever runs again, that would make two, but I digress…) Now that I think about it, Obama should get rid of that stupid “O” and go with a checkerboard motif!

  51. I don’t think John McCain would know how to use an iPod.

    Sure he would. That little plastic screen, if broken at the right angle, can easily cut through Charlie’s jugular in an escape attempt. The video playback can be used to fake out the cameras at the Hanoi Hilton, while he crawls through the tunnel he dug with the earbuds.

    Obama’s campaign could be congratulated on it’s masterful image fabrication, if it weren’t so transparent.

  52. If he’s really crafty, he’s got this one in there, someplace.

    Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
    And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
    Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
    Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man

    And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
    Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away

  53. Skarrack O’Skama? I’m willing to guess there are some kids in Des Moines who already came up with this one day at the mall and are currently practicing in the basement, but they don’t have a drummer or guitar player, but Jimmy’s sister has a keyboard and Timmy is 2nd chair trumpet in the school band, so they’re off to a good start.

  54. Barack Obama, the 2Tone candidate.

  55. I’d rather here some hard core FACTS about this “change” strategy, instead of the creation and marketing of his image to appeal to a bunch of celebrity obsessed shallow idiots.
    Don’t hold your breath. Take away marketing, and Obama disappears.

  56. And what will it mean if we find out McCain is an Abba fan?

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