What are the '08 candidates listening to?

A survey reveals the music choices of Obama, Clinton, Giuliani and the rest.

Published May 31, 2007 8:35PM (EDT)

Given that many TV pundits favor gauges like "Who would you most want to have a beer with?" when considering our political candidates, goofy surveys like this new one demand our close attention. We'll resist the urge to pontificate on the fact that li'l Dennis Kucinich listed "Astronaut" as his alternate career choice, and stick to the tunes, parsing the answers that the current crop of presidential candidates (or their consultants) gave to the elegantly worded question, "last music purchase."

You've got to love Barack Obama's choice of the soundtrack to "Ray." "I'm black," Obama seems to be saying, "but not in that scary rap way." Hillary Clinton's pick of Carly Simon's recent snoozefest "Into White" -- unless she assumed we'd make some sort of edgy "You're So Vain" association -- is basically the inoffensive white-noise choice, with vague boomer associations. Inspiring.

The best I can say about Chris Dodd's "Jersey Boys" selection is that I believe him. Boring pick, boring candidate. Same goes for Bill Richardson, whose choice of a greatest hits collection by a country music traditionalist (George Strait) is equally uninspiring. Kucinich's going with Willie Nelson is the most obviously simpatico pairing. After all, Kucinich has had a good relationship with the "Green" Party in the past. Hiyoo! I'm here all week!

Joe Biden picked "My Sister's Playlist." I think they're an indie-rock band.

The most blatant pandering came on the Republican side, with Mike Huckabee's pick of goth pop metal gloomsters Evanescence, who he meticulously notes are from his home state of Arkansas. I can totally see Huckabee, sitting alone in a dark room, singing along to the band's hit "Going Under": "I'm falling forever / I've got to break through / I'm going under."

Duncan Hunter and Sam Brownback both played it safe -- "Christian artist" Michael W. Smith for Brownback, and the opaquely inclusive "country and gospel" for Hunter. Someone tell these guys about Stryper. Christian metal will blow their minds.

John McCain and Mitt Romney stuck to classic rock, with J Mac picking a Beach Boys greatest-hits compilation, and Romney skillfully currying favor with the youth vote by claiming he bought a "selection of Roy Orbison songs from iTunes." Yup, right off the Internet, just like that. Who cares if he flip-flops on abortion, Romney's tech-savvy!

Boldest pick goes to Rudy Giuliani, who listed Verdi's "Macbeth" as his last music purchase. But Giuliani didn't even specify which rendition it was that he'd purchased! Was it EMI's lustrous Riccardo Muti-conducted version or Claudio Abbado's more strident performance with La Scala? Could it have been the 1952 Callas performance? The voters demand to know!

Oh yeah, Tom Tancredo picked one of those lame-o Sinatra duet records.

-- David Marchese

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------