On the eve of his new memoir’s publication, Barack Obama tweeted an accompanying playlist of “memorable songs from my administration” yesterday. “Hope you enjoy it.” The 44th president of the United States hopes you enjoy, and you should, but will you? No sooner did he publish his picks than millions of people got busy debating his list, checking it twice, criticizing his taste, praising his taste, and running a battery of political tests for partisan and bipartisan implications.
“Great list, but kinda mellow,” tweeted the novelist Stephen King. “I like your style, Mr. President, and I miss you and your family so much,” wrote a fan. “Wish you were still President,” beamed a music critic. “So the soundtrack for his 8 years in office is Starbucks elevator music. Haha,” hissed a scholar. “A real Hyde Parker wouldn’t have picked the second track off Kind of Blue because the first track was too obvious—they’d have picked the third track!” wrote a discerning investigative editor at a competing newsroom.
Obama has some good ones, but decide for yourselves: Aretha Franklin’s “The Weight,” BB King’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” Beyoncé’s “Halo” and “At Last,” Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Brooks and Dunn’s “Only in America,” Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady,” Gloria Estefan’s “Always Tomorrow,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” Jay-Z’s “My 1st Song,” John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things,” Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader,” Phillip Phillip’s “Home,” the Beatles’ “Michelle,” Sade’s “Cherish the Day,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “Sir Duke,” and U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
“Music has always played an important role in my life—and that was especially true during my presidency,” Obama tweeted. His new book, A Promised Land, is fast becoming one of the top-selling political memoirs in history.
“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America. There’s the United States of America,” he said years earlier. Tell it to the raging chorus of music critics and polarizers on Twitter. At least he included the Beatles’ “Michelle.”