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Obama’s Campaign Playlist, Deconstructed

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By Weeping Elvis
February 10, 2012 at 10:03 am



This post originally ran on our must-read music blog, Weeping Elvis. They’ll be live-blogging the Grammys on Sunday night with a man backstage, so hang out over there for all the inside scoops.

Politico on Thursday brought us an early look at President Obama’s campaign playlist for events and rallies. Led off with the not-so-subtle message of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” the 29-song, soul-heavy list is a veritable tick sheet of messaging points and nods to specific constituencies.

In a Bloomberg story, Syracuse professor Robert Thompson says the Obama team “probably spent a long time going over each song and going over who’s going to like it and what kind of message it will deliver.”

So what kind of message will each deliver? We take a guess, below.

“Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green
Target Audience: Married couples in counseling

“Different People” – No Doubt
Target Audience: People who wish Gaga made this list

“Got to Get You in My Life” – Earth, Wind & Fire
Target Audience: Unemployed horn players

“Green Onions” – Booker T & The MGs
Target Audience: The Drive-By Truckers

“I Got You” – Wilco
Target Audience: Rock snobs from 15 years ago

“Keep on Pushing” – The Impressions
Target Audience: Near-term pregnant women

“Keep Reachin’ Up” – Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators
Target Audience: Pentecostals

“Love You I Do?” – Jennifer Hudson
Target Audience: Yoda

“Stand Up” – Sugarland
Target Audience: Fans of dental office music

“Raise Up” – Ledisi
Target Audience: People who can’t quite “Stand Up”

“This” – Darius Rucker
Target Audience: People who are sick of “that”

“We Used To Wait” Arcade Fire
Target Audience: Canadians

“You’ve Got the Love” – Florence and the Machine
Target Audience: Redheads

“Your Smiling Face” – James Taylor
Target Audience: Baby boomers who thought Eric Clapton Unplugged was a “little too heavy”

“No Nostalgia” – AgesAndAges
Target Audience: Twentysomethings who think Fleet Foxes are “a little too heavy”

“Roll with the Change” – REO Speedwagon
Target Audience: People who pair denim jackets with jeans

“Everyday America” – Sugarland
Target Audience: Fans of the hold music on the Suicide Prevention Hotline

“Learn to Live” – Darius Rucker
Target Audience: People who didn’t get enough Rucker at the last rally

“Mr. Blue Sky” – Electric Light Orchestra
Target Audience: White people with Afros

“My Town” – Montgomery Gentry
Target Audience: Montgomery Burns

“The Best Thing About Me Is You” – Ricky Martin, featuring Joss Stone
Target Audience: Evidently not the Latinos who wonder why they didn’t just use the Spanish-language version

“You Are the Best Thing” – Ray Lamontagne
Target Audience: Your barista

“Keep Marchin’” – Raphael Saadiq
Target Audience: North Koreans

“Tonight’s The Kind of Night” – Noah and the Whale
Target Audience: Ark builders

“We Take Care of Our Own” – Bruce Springsteen
Target Audience: Bruce Springsteen

“Keep Me In Mind” – Zac Brown Band
Target Audience: Jimmy Buffett

“The Weight” – Aretha Franklin
Target Audience: Detroit automakers, Clint Eastwood

“Even Better Than The Real Thing” – U2
Target Audience: People who think “the real thing” would have meant 15% unemployment

“Home” – Dierks Bentley
Target Audience: Probably not Jason Isbell

As for the songs played at Mitt Romney rallies, nearly every recording artist except Donnie & Marie have rescinded their licensing rights.

This post by Sir Duke originally ran on our music blog, Weeping Elvis. Follow them at @WeepingElvis1. And make sure to tune in Sunday night for the insider live blog.

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