The news that President Obama has released two summer playlists for us to enjoy – a daytime and nighttime selection of songs – rather cements his reputation as the coolest politician around, albeit this is a pretty thin field.
And when I say “pretty thin” I mean “wafer thin” in the way of that waiter in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”…
It’s not as though we are all commemorating the 30th anniversary of Michael Foot’s headline appearance on the other stage at Glastonbury, or looking back fondly at Clement Atlee’s introduction of twerking into the UK.
What is different about Obama’s playlist compared to other politician’s previous – and inevitably clumsy – attempts to show an interest in music, is that you suspect he might well have (uniquely) had something to do with compiling it.
Politicians don’t have the best track record when it comes to their musical selections. There’s always the suspicion one of their trendier and younger advisors might have tried to brief them in order to appeal to the “kids”. From Samantha Cameron’s endorsement of Azealia Banks’ song “212” (which contains liberal sprinklings of the “C” word – a word you would suspect Samantha in her capacity as David Cameron’s wife is probably tired of hearing) to her husband’s apparent love of The Jam’s Eton Rifles, a song that was far from a ringing endorsement of said exclusive public school, there has been much dislike of politicians wanting to endorse popular musicians.
Are the political classes only allowed to like Beethoven? Or is it more that we’d all feel a little gutted if Michael Gove’s iPhone had the same music on it as ours?
Perhaps the problem is that whilst we always want our politicians to be in touch with their constituents, rock n roll tends to be rebellious, “stick it to the man” kind of music. If politicians like music of that kind, how can it be edgy?
So let’s not worry about being cool. Let’s assume that Jeremy Corbyn has a huge collection of Creation LPs and a full set of Mercury Prize nominees.
And let’s see what the President of the United States has on his iPod…
Turns out there’s a fair bit of Courtney Barnett and Aretha Franklin.
That’s the same as me…
What do I do now…?
I’m just hoping Donald Trump doesn’t release a playlist featuring My Bloody Valentine, Pulp and Neil Young. What would any of us do then, knowing that Trump liked the same music as we did?
Although, knowing him, it’s more likely to feature Iggy Pop.
That LP from 1977.
The one that isn’t Lust for Life…
Let me know what you think…