Obama's playlist earns rave reviews from DJs

ByDerrik J. Lang AP logo
Saturday, August 13, 2016
President Barack Obama walks to his seat after speaking at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House of the Washington, Friday, April 29, 2016.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster-AP

LOS ANGELES -- After he's finished working in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama could find employment behind a pair of turntables.

Obama's summer playlist is earning praise from music tastemakers. The White House released the track listing Thursday during Obama's family vacation. Several critics are boasting about the commander in chief's attention to detail and diverse taste in tunes.

"When I went through his playlist, I immediately wished we could elect him for another four years," said Aaron Axelsen, the music director at Live 105 (KITS-FM) in San Francisco.

Axelsen praised Obama's list for including such "legit indie rock" tunes as Courtney Barnett's "Elevator Operator" and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home," as well as "credible backpack hip-hop" like Wale's "LoveHate Thing" and Common's "Forever Begins." Axelsen also appreciated that Obama set a mood with the order of his musical choices.

"That's a lost art," said Axelsen. "It takes me back to the '80s when I started and you had to earn cred with the perfect mixtape."

The full list of 39 songs was divided by daytime and nighttime, the latter of which featured such saucy picks as Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely," Corinne Bailey Rae's "Green Aphrodisiac" and Antony Hamilton's "Do You Feel Me." On social media, many were taken back by Obama's sexy selections.

"I wasn't thrown off by the sexual nature of the nighttime list," said Erik Bradley, the music director for B96 (WBBM-FM) in Chicago. "The songs were all good. It's pop music. It's mostly about sex, anyway."

However, Bradley was surprised that music-making Obama supporters such as Beyoncé, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar and Katy Perry didn't make the cut. (Beyonce and Legend were among those featured on last year's choices.)

"I was also really shocked he put a song called 'Criminal' on there," said Bradley, referring to the Fiona Apple track. "I guess this really is about the music and not politics."