Opinion: Obama, McCain reveal music favorites - and really shouldn’t have...
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Blender Magazine has asked the presumptive presidential nominees for their top 10 favorite tunes. At first glance the answers supplied by Barack Obama and John McCain are pretty predictable -- as if a computer program spit out a list of what their supporters would like them to say. But after a closer look, their choices are quite revealing.
For example, you might think that John McCain would use this opportunity to prove he isn’t a geezer, you know, get some credibility by mentioning Coldplay or John Legend. But nooo, the Arizona senator doesn’t cop to popular trends -- or the passage of decades. His list doesn’t have a single song that was written in the last 30 years. Seriously, you have to give him credit for embracing the age issue and putting ‘As Time Goes By’ at No. 5.
Worse, McCain listens to ABBA. A lot. ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Take a Chance on Me’ make up two of his top three choices, according to the magazine. This is just scary. Everyone knows that ABBA’s melody’s are crazy addictive, and sure we’ve all been caught humming bits and pieces of the corniest songs ever written. But it’s a guilty pleasure--not something you shout to the world.
Barack Obama’s top pick is ‘Ready or Not’ by the Fugees, followed by What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘I’m on Fire’ by Bruce Springsteen.’
These are a little harder to criticize except they are safe, safe, safe: profanity-free hip hop and a classic from The Boss. Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t Springsteen one of Obama’s celebrity endorsers? Hmm. As for the Fugees, no argument with the song, it’s great. But wait: isn’t Wyclef Jean an Obama supporter too? And coming in at No. 6 is ‘Touch the Sky’ from, you guessed, Obama fan Kanye West. I suppose it’s only fitting that No. 10 on this list is the Obama love letter written by will.i.am: ‘Yes we can.’ OK, so I admit I watched that video over and over again when it came out, and I was really moved. And I can believe Obama was glued to it too -- at home, alone in the den where no one could see him. I know I would have been if I were in his place. But that, like singing along to ABBA, should have been a guilty pleasure -- not something to include on a favorites list.
Still, you’ve got to give them both credit for political savvy -- they know their audiences. Neither man strayed into elitist territory bound to alienate voters by including works by, say, Verdi, Bach or Beethoven. There’s no way a Top 10 list of mine doesn’t have some Beethoven. But I guess that’s why I can’t be president. Polls must show that for most Americans, classical music, contemporary country, jazz, punk, reggae or techno simply do not exist.... Riiight. These men both have some explaining to do. How do you leave off Parliament and the Beatles? No Elton John or Led Zeppelin or Earth, Wind & Fire?
There was one singer, however, on both candidates’ list: Frank Sinatra. Now what does that say?