Opinion: Time for Mitt Romney to change his tunes


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The bigger the campaign, the lamer the playlist.

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign released a 19-song Spotify playlist on Friday, and in the grand tradition of presidential candidates, it was chock full of inoffensive hits. Not that the songs were bad (well, maybe this one is) or that it strains credulity to think of Romney listening to country music. It’s just that nothing about the collection of tracks said, ‘Mitt Romney.’ It’s the kind of stuff just about anybody might listen to between stops by the tour bus.

Frankly, publishing any kind of playlist is a lose-lose proposition for a candidate. The musicians included may not like having their music associated with the campaign. And the ones who embrace the candidate may do things that embarrass the campaign. Maybe that’s why Romney included only one rock ‘n’ roller (The Killers) and one rapper (the often noncontroversial Kid Rock). But then, Willie Nelson and Toby Keith aren’t exactly choirboys.


The one good thing that might come out of such an exercise is if a candidate succeeds in being at least a little bit hip. That wouldn’t be the case with Romney’s selections, which tend toward the familiar and time-honored. President Obama’s Spotify playlist has a few songs that come within hailing distance of the cutting edge -- a little Arcade Fire, a little Florence + The Machine. But by gathering tunes from a wide variety of genres, Obama’s campaign just seemed to be pandering.

Speaking of which, I wonder why Newt Gingrich hasn’t offered a different playlist for every state he’s visited?

Look, I want to be helpful, not just critical. So I took the liberty of pulling together a new Spotify playlist for Romney. It’s more rockin’ than the one his campaign put together -- how could it not be? -- but it’s not going to rattle the windows of the bus. There are some tracks from genres he missed in his selections, just to spread the love a little. And there’s enough hip to more than match the incumbent’s offering.

Let me apologize in advance for including a song -- ‘Having an Argument With Myself’ by Jens Lekman -- that includes a profanity that probably never sullies the candidate’s lips. But look at the title! It’s perfect for Romney. And to think Lekman is from Sweden, not Rick Santorum’s campaign staff....

A track-by-track accounting of Romney’s original playlist and my suggested alternative appear after the jump.



Rush Limbaugh’s blind spot

McManus: No quit in these candidates

California’s phone ban: Maybe not such a bad idea after all

-- Jon Healey

Here’s the original Romney playlist:
On the Road

  • I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow by The Soggy Bottom Boys
  • Read My Mind by The Killers
  • December, 1963 [Oh What A Night!] by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Ring Of Fire by Johnny Cash
  • Somebody Told Me by The Killers
  • The M T A (The Boston Subway Song) by The Kingston Trio
  • Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys
  • Desperado (Live) by Clint Black
  • Crying by Roy Orbison
  • Only You (Long Version) by Commodores
  • Runaway by Del Shannon
  • It’s Your Love by Tim McGraw
  • As Good As I Once Was by Toby Keith
  • Born Free by Kid Rock
  • Over The Rainbow by Willie Nelson
  • Stardust by Nat King Cole
  • In Dreams by Roy Orbison
  • Somebody Like You (Album Version) by Keith Urban
  • All-American Girl by Carrie Underwood

And here’s my alternative:

Mitt Romney 2012

  • The Second Time Around by Frank Sinatra
  • Flavor Of The Month by The Posies
  • Better Than Nothing by Jennifer Trynin
  • Work For Love by Ministry
  • I’ll Be Your Chauffeur by David J
  • The Only One by Billy Bragg
  • An Argument With Myself by Jens Lekman
  • To Hell With Poverty by Gang Of Four
  • The Wall Street Shuffle by 10cc
  • Taxman, Mr. Thief by Cheap Trick
  • Rich Man’s World by Eilen Jewell
  • Border Song by Elton John
  • Deport Them by Sean Paul
  • Border Guards by The Rosebuds
  • Golden Blunders by The Posies
  • I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt