Monday, January 7, 2008

Music and Politics? Wait, Huckabee and, uhm, Bono?!





Hat tip to Carrie Brownstein over at NPR's Monitor Mix, one of my favorite bloggers.
Carrie has a fantastic piece today on politicians' use of music. The following snippet is the best thing I read today:

'There is nothing like politics and politicians employing songs as a force for musical atrophy. Even though politicians might inspire some great tunes (imagine 1980's hardcore without Reagan or recent Springsteen, Steve Earle, or Arcade Fire albums minus Bush II et al as inspiration), they are less successful at marrying music with their own image or agenda. It's a tricky process indeed. We're not talking about a benign Celebrity Playlist on i-Tunes, wherein people can admire the esoteric tastes of Nicholas Cage, or confirm their instinct that they and Michael Cera were meant for each other based on a mutual fondness for The Microphones. And it is more serious than the song one chooses as a cell phone ring, that 15 second personal ad broadcast ed a few times a day. Instead, a candidate's theme song is a little bit more like a tattoo; some people won't care or even notice it at all, others will think it really sums up who they are and what they stand for, and the final category of people will be slightly offended by their lack of taste.'

Music, after all, precedes much else. The soundtrack we pick for ourselves reveals much about us. Employing music for the purpose of making strong political statements makes plain sense to me. Obama's choice of music, U2's City of Blinding Lights sounds like a well-informed choice to me. Bono's voice echoes a sense of possibility, novelty, and optimism, the things Obama seems to want to be remembered for.
Ah, yes, and even Mike Huckabee is playing bass on the Tonight Show outing his love of classic rock. The PR folk must have picked up on something here, right?
I will ask the same question here that Carrie asked over at her blog, i.e., why are the candidates spending trying to pick the 'right' song for their respective campaigns?
And didn't Hillary pick a Celine Dion track at some point?
In the words of a favorite person, 'what kind of blip was that? Seriously, Celine?!'
Read more here.

9 comments:

Nicki said...

huckabee playing bass on the tonight show. now that's good tv.
why employ music?
because you can send many messages at the same time.
so, huckabee playing some classic rock bit also makes sense to me.
we do tend to 'group' people based on what they listen to, no?

Edward said...

Esato! What was she thinking? Celine? Must have been a joke. I think. I hope.

Bri said...

The best bit in Carrie's blog was the following, per moi....
"people can... confirm their instinct that they and Michael Cera were meant for each other based on a mutual fondness for The Microphones."
Super true, Carrie, so super true!

liam. said...

am i the only one with the memory of clinton playing saxophone on the arsenio hall show burned into his brain? that was the first time a presidential candidate had ever been on a late night talk show, i think, and it certainly helped his campaign. he was like the first MTV candidate...

Bri said...

I do remember Clinton on Arsenio. Who could forget the Sax. Somehoe the choice of instrument and perfomance made perfect sense, though.
And now the candidates are on MTV, YouTube. Oh, let me not forget the Myspace pages. How many friends does 'Hillary' have now?

Rebecca said...

What Liam mentioned is what I thought of too when I read the post.
Clinto, Arsenio, and the sax.
'If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it?' Isn't that was Shakespeare said?

Rebecca said...

What Liam mentioned is what I thought of too when I read the post.
Clinto, Arsenio, and the sax.
'If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it?' Isn't that was Shakespeare said?

J. Jones said...

Clinton made the sax look hot. Something about the body language, blowing technique, wavy hair.
Plus, he did it on Arsenio.
First time ever.
So, since it was a virginal experience, it's bound to have more 'weight.'
I'd actually see Clinton if he were a professional sax player.
There is no way I'm getting in line at Ticketmaster to see
Huckabee, though.....

J. Jones said...

Wait. Hillary did not pick Celine, did she?
You were only being funny, yes?