Obama Loves Beyonce: What Spotify and iTunes Playlists Say About the Presidential Candidates


Since I won't have the opportunity to gaze into either of the presidential candidates eyes this election cycle I will have to rely on each man's musical tastes to know their souls. Obama and Romney both announced their official campaign playlists. Spotify is an incredible magical music streaming program that you download and then get immediate access to tracks upon tracks of great music. The Obama campaign's decision to publish its playlist on Spotify is a huge win for the music streaming service, which has been popular in Europe for several years but which only arrived in America last July. Check out a sample of the Obama playlist: 

And now a sample of Romney's: 


The road leading up to the 2012 presidential election has already had its fair share of musical moments going viral on the web: President Obama sang Al Green (Green's "Let's Stay Together" makes an appearance on the "First Spotify List".)

An advertisement by ex-candidate Herman Cain notably featured "I Am America" by Krista Branch. 

GOP candidate Mitt Romney led a group of senior citizens in "America the Beautiful." 

Candidates playlists will not sway my vote (total lie ... I base every decision on sweet hooks and tight beats) but it is interesting to dissect the man based on the music. Of course you have to keep in mind that this is a public playlist which was vetted by some political guru and maybe the candidates didn't get to include any secret favorite songs (confession, I love Ashlee Simpson). So let's take these playlists at face value and dive in.  

Now it has been said that Obama puts the "rock" back in Barack. I won't go that far because I am not a fan of weak wordplay, but his playlist is exquisitely well-rounded. You start off with a ska band that's number one in fan's hearts and is making a huge comeback -- No Doubt. Then he throws you a beautiful classic from Earth Wind & Fire, this band should be on every party playlist you ever make. Then you run into Ricky Martin: Of course my first thought was that Obama is totally living la Vida la Loca. Sadly the Ricky Martin tune is a more mature jam and features Joss Stone (half a win). 

Obama then tosses in something from the Dreamland soundtrack. And I am pleased to say Obama and I both like to rock out to James Taylor, Zac Brown Band, and Florence + The Machine. He ends the playlist with some Springsteen; not "Born in the USA," which would have stuck it to Trump, but instead "We Take Care of our Own." The biggest surprise on the playlist was Arcade Fire, maybe Obama has been sneaking off to some summer musical festivals. 

But we can't forget about Romney. The first noticable thing is the playlist's overall feel of hardcore southern rock. Hey Mitt, are you trying to seduce some southern states? It's almost working on this southern girl. I am not sure that I would have put "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" by the Soggy Bottom Boys just for superstitious reasons. Instead, I would have started with some FloRida "Good Feeling".

Romney's list is very southern focused. He goes from the man in black Johnny Cash, to Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and Kid Rick. You need to listen to this in an American made pickup truck with the windows down as you drive to a BBQ. But let's not pigeonhole this playlist. We've got some Killers, which adds some musical diversity and also solidifies Romney's Mormon roots. 

I liked that he threw in some Beach Boys which gave me Good Vibrations. The playlist ends with American Idol Carrie Underwood, which is good because Romney doesn't have any other women on his list. But he gives us some great classics from Frankie Valli and the Commodores to help us get our groove on.  

Overall impression: A glaring flag to me was that the Romney list only had one female crooner. Obama is killing it with Aretha, Sugarland, Florence, and Gwen Stefani. I feel like Romney's playlist plays up his man angle, while Obama's selection shows his confidence. My only question is where is Justin Timberlake's contribution? Why is no candidate bringing "Sexy Back"? Can someone please explain this oversight? This just in, Paul Ryan is bringing sexy back to the GOP and to election booths near you.