Obama’s Music

President ObamaTonight, as I was watching Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, I couldn’t help but focus more on the music than the message. And I must admit, for the most part, his taste, or his handlers’ taste in music, is pretty good.

He covered it all, starting with Stevie Wonder. You can’t go wrong with Stevie. Despite “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” he is just a likeable guy. I could have done without Michael McDonald, who always sounded as if he had swallowed a golf ball, or his tongue, or something that made his voice sound like a perpetual yawn. He sang “America the Beautiful,” and I had to laugh when he encouraged everyone to “sing with me,” not realizing that no one could guess how he was going to improvise and syncopate the song.

Then there was Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” a necessity in American politics, and then U2, another newer necessity. Obama had previously used “Beautiful Day” at his rallies, but this time it was “City of Blinding Lights,” a good choice.

After the speech: something by Brooks & Dunn. Apparently the words of the song fit his candidacy and personality, and it probably did appeal to a certain demographic, but it just seemed – um, out of place after the speech of the year. But the evening closed with “Titans Spirit” from the “Remember the Titans,” a nice orchestral piece that sounded straight out of “The West Wing.”

We’ll see what McCain does next week with his music.

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Peter Lee


  1. Interesting call by Obama on the Brooks and Dunn, I thought. (John Kerry used the Black-Eyed Peas four years ago.) I wondered where that orchestral piece after the speech came from. I didn’t like it–too somber in spots, not good for keeping the euphoria going, which Kerry’s people did very well in ’04.

  2. As an unapologetic U2 fan, I absolutely love the Obama campaign’s use of “City Of Blinding Lights,” but could we please send a memo to all campaigns – now, in the future, and even retroactivly – regarding “Born In The USA”? Its use as a political rallying cry given the song’s subject matter is maddening and like nails on a chalkboard.

  3. Barely Awake: Amen to “Born in the USA.” To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, “I do not think that song means what you think it means.” Ooh – I feel a post coming on – Top 10 most overused campaign songs…

  4. @jb: Yeah, the B&D was a shrewd political move. Didn’t like it, but I appreciated the attempt. And the orchestral piece really did seem like a West Wing episode – very dramatic, but melodramatic at times.

    Kerry used BEP? No wonder I didn’t like him.

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