President Obama’s Summer Playlist


Have you ever been curious about President Barack Obama’s taste in music? If so, you’re in luck. On August 11th, the POTUS released an eclectic list of songs titled “President Obama’s 2016 Summer Playlist,” which can be found on Spotify.

The first part of the playlist, titled “Songs for the Daytime,” features the following tracks:

1.Wale – “LoveHate Thing”
2. Leon Bridges – “Smooth Sailin'”
3. Courtney Barnett – “Elevator Operator”
4.  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – “Home”
5. Many The Miles – Sara Bareilles
6. Janelle Monáe feat. Big Boi – “Tightrope”
7. Jidenna – “Classic Man”
8. Jay Z feat. Pharrell – “So Ambitious”
9.  Manu Chao – “Me Gustas Tu”
10. Common – “Forever Begins”
11. Aloe Blacc – “The Man”
12. Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong ” Marley – “As We Enter”
13. Nina Simone – “Sinnerman”
14. Prince with Sheena Easton – “U Got the Look”
15. Aretha Franklin – “Rock Steady”
16. Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”
17. Gary Clark Jr. – “Don’t Owe You A Thang”
18. Gin Wigmore – “Man Like That”
19. Charles Mingus – “II B.S. (Edit)”

The second part of the playlist, titled “Songs for the Nighttime,” includes twenty additional jams:

1. Chrisette Michele – “If I Had My Way”
2. Esperanza Spalding – “Espera”
3. Aaron Neville – “Tell It Like It Is”
4. Ledisi – “Alright”
5. Denise LaSalle – “Trapped By A Thing Called Love”
6. D’Angelo – “Lady”
7. Tower of Power – “So Very Hard to Go”
8. Carmen McRae – “Midnight Sun”
9.  Caetano Veloso – “Cucurrucucú Paloma”
10. Corinne Bailey Rae – “Green Aphrodisiac”
11. Mary J. Blige – ” I’ll Be There For You / You’re All I Need”
12. Billie Holiday – “Lover Man”
13. Fiona Apple – “Criminal”
14. Chance the Rapper – “Acid Rain”
15. Miles Davis – “My Funny Valentine”
16. Anthony Hamilton – “Do You Feel Me”
17. Janet Jackson – “I Get Lonely”
18. Lizz Wright – “Lean In”
19. War – “All Day Music”
20. Floetry – “Say Yes”

Listeners will notice that Obama is a fan of rap music, appreciating the likes of Wale, Jay Z, and Nas. He is also fond of classic soul artists like Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin, as well as modern R&B artists like Mary J. Blige and Janelle Monáe and alternative singer-songwriters like Courtney Barnett and Fiona Apple.

Obama’s music taste isn’t limited to one language—several of the songs on his playlist are in Spanish. It isn’t constrained by time, either. Some of the tracks, such The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” are 20th-century classics, whereas others, such as Aloe Blacc’s “The Man,” were released more recently.

This isn’t the first time Obama has given us a glimpse into his iTunes library. In 2015, he released a two-part summer playlist as well. That playlist contained an equally diverse mix of songs in a similar vein, some of which were performed by artists who also appeared on this year’s playlist.

Next time you’re not sure what to listen to, why not try President Obama’s recommendations? You just might find your new favorite song.

Brittany Menjivar is a seventeen-year-old music enthusiast who listens to everything from Britpop to EDM to up-and-coming Warped Tour bands. She is passionate about many things in life, including (but not limited to) flower crowns, Foster the People, S. E. Hinton novels, scimitar-horned oryxes, The Great Gatsby (both the book and the 2013 film), theatre, the music of Damon Albarn, blue raspberry ICEEs, and thought-provoking films. Brittany loves spreading the word about interesting ideas, which is why she writes for TYF and serves as the editor of her school newspaper and literary magazine. She also loves metaphors and similes, which explains why she enjoys reviewing music so much. In addition to being a member of the TYF staff, Brittany is a poet who has been published in KaPow! Creative Writing Zine, The Noisy Island, Crashtest, and YARN. If you're reading this, she hopes your day is full of good art and good vibes.