Pander (In The Name of Love)


Sitting neglected in the in-box is this article from Blender magazine. It supposedly details the Ten Favorite Songs from the Presidential Candidates.

Well this is as important a choice as any other they’ve made in the last six months. What makes it an interesting list is not only what is on there, but what was left off. Usually, these campaign generated things have the unmistakable stench of a white bread focus group coupled with the soul-devouring sentimentality of a classic rock radio programmer. Or, at least one of them.

Here’s Obama’s List:

1. Ready or Not Fugees
What’s Going On Marvin Gaye
I’m On Fire Bruce Springsteen
Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones
Sinnerman Nina Simone
Touch the Sky Kanye West
You’d Be So Easy to Love Frank Sinatra
Think Aretha Franklin
City of Blinding Lights U2
Yes We Can

Can reasonable people agree that any list with Marvin Gaye on it is cliche by definition? I like Marvin as much as the next guy who has heard “What’s Going On?” run into the ground for the last 40 years.

Obama’s list is clearly hipper than his 72 year old opponent’s. Just barely. There’s a couple of cool deep tracks mixed with tunes that are frankly suspect. It’s an interesting mix.  Break it down like this: Sinatra, Simone and Gaye appeal to the older, traditional voter. Springsteen, Aretha and the Stones nod to the baby-boomers. U2, Fugees and West identify with teh kidz.  And what kind of ego picks a song (Yes We Can) full of his own speechifying as one of his favorite songs? Carly Simon called and confirms that this song is indeed about you.

McCain’s List

1. Dancing Queen ABBA
2. Blue Bayou Roy Orbison
3. Take a Chance On Me ABBA
4. If We Make It Through December Merle Haggard
5. As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson
6. Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
7. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong
8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra
9. Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters

Though more traditional, this list seems more genuine and reflective of the candidate. Boring and predictable as Velveeta, my friends. Any list with TWO songs by ABBA can’t be the result of GOP operatives sitting up all night brainstorming what will play in Peoria, can it? The thing that jumps out is that there isn’t a song on that list recorded since Jimmy Carter was POTUS.  You can’t really pick on any of those songs for being anything other than safe choices. All are pleasant, inoffensive tunes that have been around since forever. Again, reflective of the candidate.  Pretty fly for an old guy.

If I had to pick the top ten for each candidate, it would be more like this:


1. Running on Empty Jackson Browne

2. A Change is Gonna Come Sam Cooke

3. It’s A Mans, Mans, Mans, Mans World (Hillary Clinton remix) James Brown

4. Papa Was a Rolling Stone The Temptations

5. Losing My Religion R.E.M.

6. The Great Pretender The Platters

7. Ohio Crosby, Stills and Nash

8. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy Rod Stewart

9. I Put A Spell On You Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

10. Born in the USA Bruce Springsteen


1. Whipping Post The Allman Brothers Band

2. Help! The Beatles

3. What’d I Say? Ray Charles

4. Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley

5. Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash

6. Both Sides Now Joni Mitchell

7. Tell It Like It Is Aaron Neville

8. You Can’t Always Get What You Want The Rolling Stones

9. With A Little Help From My Friends The Beatles

10. Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum

I wonder what Bob Barr’s listening to?


3 Responses to “Pander (In The Name of Love)”

  1. sgazzetti Says:

    All I can say is well done, sir. Though I do have to wonder about the omission of “Stuck Inside of Ho Loa With The Hanoi Blues Again” on the final playlist.

  2. bridgett Says:

    I think you forgot this one:

  3. peptodismal Says:

    Which one gets McAurthur’s Park?

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