Sounding Off on DNC

Music and politics have undeniably become intertwined in this year’s race. Sure, musicians have always been writing politically charged lyrics, but this election has seen an increased emphasis on music. As the Democratic National Convention has ended and the next convention is about to begin, I want to look at the role music has played in Barack Obama‘s candidacy.

Campaign Songs
These are the songs chosen for the candidates to walk out to their audiences before big speeches. They are meant to be inspirational and act as a reflection on the candidate. Obama’s campaign has gone through the use of several songs. Sometimes he went in the direction that reflected his ethnic heritage and used more Motown and r&b songs. Aretha Franklin‘s “Think” was an earlier, popular choice. The choice was good because its a song by an American legend. It was meant to make people think about the country’s situation and what he was offering America, but the lyrics about a straying lover didn’t send the best message.

Not surprisingly, other songs were quickly used. For about a year of the campaign, Obama used “The City of Blinding Lights” by U2. I’m not personally a fan because I think the guys in U2, or at least Bono, are a wee bit arrogant. Plus, the band isn’t even American. Not the most patriotic pick.

My favorite song of his campaign would have to have been Stevie Wonder‘s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” because it emphasizes Obama’s message of being here to serve the people. The lyrics, “You’ve got my future in your hands,” also rings true for Obama’s campaign.

Viral Videos
This is important to mention because Obama has a huge following among tech savvy youth. The result has been a lot of free marketing for him. First there was the success of the girl with a little crush:

More recently and my personal favorite was the Barack Roll:

Aside from being hilarious, an integral part of each video were the catchy and ridiculous songs used in them.

Musician’s Friend
Musicians love Obama. They are speaking out for him and playing rally shows. I attended a rally here in Omaha that was headlined by the city’s very own Bright Eyes

Check out this article here that talks how an entire label’s roster is showing their support. Not only are bands like NoFX putting on performances at the DNC, but they also are scheduled to do shows in Minneapolis to draw people to their shows and away from the Republican National Convention. This is a rather interesting tactic.

I just came across this rather interesting article in the Kansas City Star that talks about a Denver band called the Flobots. They’re leading marches to show their support and they played a show every night of the convention.

More recently, it is being rumored that the living members of rock legend The Grateful Dead are reuniting to show their support. Interesting indeed.

Rock the Vote
Rock the Vote is a program started to “engage and build the political power of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country.” Not a bad mission and not a bad program as they combine music and politics.

Kansas City is hosting a free rock the vote show September 7 with some political speeches from all parties mixed with performances by The Wombats, Carolina Liar and Ludo. The goal is just to get people registered to vote and excited about politics.

I fully intend to return to Kansas City for the show. Plus, rumor has it that Obama may even put in an appearance. Although, this was also a rumor for Lollapalooza and he was a no-show, so we’ll see.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Sure, we’ve loved his campaign songs and musicians basically throw themselves at his feet. There’s been no cease and desists for him like there have been for for his opponent, John McCain. And who could forget the hilarious Barack Roll videos? Those owned. […]

  2. The support of Rock the Vote has proven its worth in my opinion — young people voted in record numbers this year, and frankly I think non-partisan campaigns like RTV had a lot to do with that. Videos like this one are a big part of that campaign, and this one certainly piqued my interest in the Flobots.

  3. You experienced some great points here. I accomplished an investigation on the topic and obtained most peoples will agree using your blog.

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