‘Binders full of women’ set to music: A meme explodes overnight

Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic

The meme cycle being what is these days, the arrival of musical mash-ups sampling Mitt Romney’s already classic turn of phrase “binders full of women” during Tuesday night’s presidential debate with President Obama shouldn’t be a surprise.

That they’ve come so quickly, though, is something to behold. Ditto the original songs cropping up to harness Gov. Romney’s “binders” line, created by songwriters who spent the waning hours of post-debate Tuesday and early morning Wednesday writing lyrics and music.

For those of you who were too busy watching Detroit best the Yankees or had some “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” to catch up on: During the debate Gov. Romney was asked a question about equal pay for women in the workplace. As a way to illustrate the ways in which he searched for female talent when he was appointing Massachusetts Cabinet members, Romney explained that he had been given “binders full of women” with names of qualified nominees.

PHOTOS: Memorable presidential debate moments | DEBATE QUIZ: Who said it?

And with those four words, a meme was born. As is usually the case, there is a music component, and the evidence is below. One reason the phrase works so well is because of its construction. Like party boasts about having “pocketfuls of cash” or “mountains of coke,” Romney’s utterance when taken out of context seems to mirror these sentiments, resulting in a meaning as translated below:



Ditto this slower jam, which features edits and cuts that suggest a rapper in the middle of a freestyle session, trying to one-up his opponent with exaggerated bravado. The best pull-out line is when Romney says, “Can’t we find some women?” The line sounds more like a player headed out to a party than a candidate mulling Cabinet appointments.


A ukulele ditty that user davidjsweeney posted goes in a different, gentler direction, and provides hummable fodder for the rest of your day.

More mash-ups and adaptations no doubt will be uploaded in coming days. Feel free to include links in the comments below.


On Los Angeles’ skid row, songs of hope come in karaoke

Can DJs put a political spin on things even if they want to?

Freddie Mercury biopic moves forward; Sacha Baron Cohen to star

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit