Obama’s iPod

Thank you all for your contributions, here is my new insight into Obama, it won’t be new for long:

Obama
said that, growing up, he listened to Elton John and Earth, Wind &
Fire but that Stevie Wonder was his ultimate musical hero during the
70s. The Stones’ track Gimme Shelter topped his favourite songs from the band. His
selection also contained 30 songs from Dylan. "One of my favourites
[for] the political season is [Dylan’s] Maggie’s Farm. It speaks to me
as I listen to some of the political rhetoric."

…The jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker were also included…

The worship of Dylan and Wonder and be-bop jazz is consistent with my view of him as a detached, universalist cosmopolitan.

Comments

Eh... Obama Obsession? The nth post in less days on Obama. Do some McCain.

SO Obama is a cosmopolitan who doesn't feel comfortable in the US...Running for President is just a thing he does...Like making real estate deals with Tony Rezko..

Was this salient because it was genuinely new, or because it confirmed what you already though you knew?

Having 30 Dylan on one's iPod is hardly enough to qualify as "worship". I have friends who own close to 30 Dylan albums.

What are the odds those are things he wants people to think he listens to, as opposed to what he likes? As a politician, I imagine even he doesn't know the difference between those two things. To look at a politician's publicly stated preferences, and try to infer some deep meaning, is like psychoanalyzing a great sports star. There's no there there.

I was hoping he'd have "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott Heron on his ipod.

No, Obama's worship of Stevie Wonder is evidence not of Obama being a "detached, universalist cosmpolitan," but of an exotic Hawaiian youth's centripetal urge to root himself in the mainstream African-American urban culture that he knew about mostly from watching "Soul Train." Stevie Wonder was not an elite-only taste in the 1970s, he was admired at all levels and sold tons of records. Obams's love of Stevie Wonder presaged such concrete steps as rooting himself in the very parochial South Side of Chicago.

Tyler, you really should read Obama's "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."

I would like to second the above. I think you'd have to back to Eisenhower to find a President with genuine culture, not mention a knowledge of history. (Reagan was a pretty insightful fellow, I must admit.) Otherwise it has been a pretty depressing group. Close to the bottom.

> I think you'd have to back to Eisenhower to find a President with genuine culture

I'm assuming this means Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven etc. from the post that is immediately above it.

Why is Bach more "genuine culture" than Rage Against the Machine or Stevie Wonder? What does "genuine culture" mean?

I'm not trying to be mean-spirited, I really want to know the answer to this - I had a discussion one time with an individual who argued that Americans were not as cultured because they did not support/like ballet/opera as much as football. Why does this make one uncultured? I never received a satisfactory answer, so I'm looking for one.

"Detached, universalist cosmopolitan"? What in God's name is that code for? Does that make a country music fan like Bush an "engaged nativist bumpkin"?

On second thought, maybe you're on to something.

Hey, I'm a libertarian economics instructor and Stevie Wonder is my favorite (Steely Dan a close second). Stevie's a freakin' musical genius and everybody's been copying him since the 1970's.

If you don't know why Bach is "more genuine," you are really in a sorry state.

Check out the new iPol - Algorithm attempts to always play what you want to hear. However, ends up playing the same old songs over and over. Rarely works, but warranty ran out. Costs an arm and a leg.

He must be the only politician not to include U2. He makes up for it by using their City of Blinding Lights as his speech intro.

Critic,

Is it because it allows arrogant fucking douche bags like you to make smug comments? Is that why it's more genuine?

When I read the title i thought there were going to be pictures of Obama listening to an ipod :P

At least British politicians pretend to have better taste. David Cameron namedrops Radiohead and The Smiths to no end.

Critic,

If Bach was alive during modern times he would have been in a heavy metal band. People who enjoy "geniune culture" hype up "culture" to make them feel better about themselves for listening to music (or whatever) that they don't enjoy as much as they put off. Someone who genuinely likes Bach doesn't brag about how cultured they are because they are too busy listening to Led Zeppelin II.

Big surprise! Obama listens to non-threatening "black" music (I was kinda hoping for 2 Live Crew or NWA) and moldy oldies that the 50-somethings worship.

Is there anything about him that rings true?

josh,
get your own handle.

Personally I think "Genuine" is the most genuine.

Anyway, Tyler calling anyone 'detached' would be quite funny if it wasn't so self delusionary.

Could I have my email address removed from my previous comment? Thanks.

Some of you all need get a life!!!!

Critiquing a political candidate based on his/her musical taste is as ridiculous as making judgments on his/her favorite color. How superficial and irrelevant!

Tyler, this post has undermined your credibility and as a loyal reader, I am very disappointed.

Yikes, I find Maggie's Farm to be one of Dylan's most obnoxious.

Look, Obama has the chance to get elected and usher in an era of democratic party rule akin to what we saw in the FDR years.

The political strife and change that occurred in the 60's and its ultimate let-down when all the Baby Boomers realized they weren't changing anything is suddenly coming back with a vengeance. Most people of my parent's generation seem to be sitting around getting weepy eyed at the notion of another political era akin to the 60's blossoming.

If anything seems to speak out, its that his choices in music reflect the tastes of the previous generation (my parents) as a methodology to bridge the gaps between different political views. The 60's saw more public interest and participation in politics than any other time in America's voting history. What better way to reach out to everyone of that by-gone era than to announce his love of the music of that era?

People of my generation (I mean the majority of the people who post here) are too caught up in the idea that he needs to connect to this generation more....what could be more laughable? He has more interest and support from the younger voters than any other voting bloc....why the hell would he care to pique your interest announcing he listens to music from the 90's and on? He has your vote...he doesn't care to whore himself out to our bad tastes and so is going to play it safe with people down the middle.

And by the way...Bach is as close to *Perfection* when it comes to music...take some music classes and LEARN to play/read music and you'll come to the same conclusion. Bach and his ilk are better because their music was written 200+ years ago and we still listen to it today. I have no doubt that nobody is going to care about or know who NWA was (or anything else considered contemporary) in 30 years let alone 200.

Christina,
read and listen to Dylan's Masters of War and many, many of his songs ---- he, like Bach, is genuine and the real deal, who will be listened to and read for hundreds of years:

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

Christina, read and listen to Dylan's Masters of War and many, many of his songs ---- he, like Bach, is genuine and the real deal, who will be listened to and read for hundreds of years

I admit that I really don't know Dylan's music, mostly because his voice grates on me so I avoid it. I won't say that he's bad, because I find that my musical taste is constantly evolving, so I could become a huge Dylan fan one day.

That being said, I still find Obama's iPod selections to be pretty pedestrian, especially when it comes to hip-hop.

And for the folks hatin' on NWA, I'm sorry. Even if you don't think much of them musically, they really poineered gangsta rap and the ripple effect from that through hip-hop and mainstream pop music is huge. Dr. Dre is a major figure in music and in 50 years will probably be regarded much in the same way that James Brown is today. 200 years? Who knows.

Bach is on obama's ipod.

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