Obama reveals classic US tastes in Spotify playlists
US President Barack Obama has lifted any remaining secrecy on his musical tastes, revealing that his favorite artists tend to be classics, are sometimes his political supporters and are overwhelmingly American.
Obama, on vacation in the upscale resort of Martha’s Vineyard, shared his current listening habits by releasing two playlists on Spotify, the popular streaming platform.
He posted a link to the playlists on Twitter, saying he was releasing his playlists “by popular request.”
Obama’s musical preferences have not been a state secret.
His playlists included tracks by Beyonce — who with her husband Jay Z campaigned for him on his 2012 re-election campaign — and Stevie Wonder, who recently joined Prince at a White House concert that raised some controversy in Washington for being private and unannounced.
The Beyonce song chosen by Obama — on his playlist for nighttime listening — was “Superpower,” a title that could seem fitting for the commander-in-chief even though the song, performed with Frank Ocean, is more about love than geopolitics.
One song that could be more appropriate for Obama’s job –- appropriately listed on his playlist for daytime listening –- was “So Much Trouble in the World” by Jamaican reggae legends Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Among the most current of Obama’s selections was a track by Florence and the Machine, the British rockers who have won glowing acclaim among alternative rock fans and critics.
He also picked a song by pop star Justin Timberlake, who is rarely political but has himself been associated with Obama.
But Obama largely picked tracks by classic artists of American rock and soul, many of them African American. His selections included songs by The Temptations, The Isley Brothers, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday.
As might be expected of the leader of the United States, the overwhelming majority of artists were American. But he also picked songs by English rock giants The Rolling Stones, Northern Irish crooner Van Morrison and legendary Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen.
And, in one artist who was not a surprise, Obama chose a track by Al Green – “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” Obama impressed a crowd at New York’s Apollo Theater in 2012 when he sang Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” with accurate pitch.