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Obama's Summer Music Playlist Review

Headphones in hand

For millions of Americans, summer is an exciting time to travel, rest, work or simply enjoy the sunniest time of the year. The warm weather can awaken a carefree nature in anyone and everyone-- including the Obamas.

This summer, former President Barack Obama released a 44-track playlist that he and his wife, Michelle, cultivated over the past summer.

The playlist is a mix of diverse hits, including songs like “Old Town Road (Remix)” by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus, “I’ll Be Around” by The Spinners, and “Reelin’ In The Years” by Steely Dan. Barack Obama shared the playlist with his Twitter followers two weeks ago, and the crowd went wild.

It showed the world a side of the Obamas that it may have never seen before. Although the playlist features new Top 40 hits, there are some tunes that may be unknown to millennials. Artists like Dobie Gray, Van Morrison, and Ella Fitzgerald are some star players on the list that received a nod of recognition.

The vibe of the playlist is fairly upbeat and groovy, along with some soft, classic-style love songs delivered by the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. These tracks give the overall bubbly playlist a tasteful and delicate touch. There is a special something about adding old ballads to a playlist that creates a perfect blend of uniquely assorted sounds that echos the beautiful music of yesteryear.

When listening to “I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” by Donny Hathway, it almost can’t be help but picture the power couple slow dancing. Though most of the songs aren’t as dreamy as the select few, the touch of romance depicted within the list is a breath of fresh air among the top hits and funk.

The Obamas were able to display an intimate side of their relationship through this compilation.

On the flip side of that coin, there are some catchy songs. From “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest to “Toast” by Koffee, the culmination of rhythmic songs make for a soulful, feel-good mix.

“Hold On (Change is Comin')” by Sounds of Blackness released in 1997, is one of the hits that inspire love, movement and hope. This uplifting spirit is one of the many trends in this summer playlist.

If this set of songs is a reflection of the moods that the Obamas experienced, then they invited listeners on a trip, enlightening people on their love and personal life. This playlist is not a “get up and dance” set of tracks, but certainly incorporates songs that inspire a sense of motivation to shimmy.

Along with the swaying, swinging impression that some of these songs portray, there are also more intense rap and hip hop tunes, such as “MOOD 4 EVA” by Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Oumou Sangare, and “Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Ms. Lauryn Hill. “Feel The Vibe” by BJ the Chicago Kid featuring Anderson Paak, almost resembles a sort of Kendrick Lamar or West coast rap style that is hinted at throughout the playlist.

This rainbow of songs the 44th POTUS arranged is a refreshing bit of update to end the summer. It creates a symphony, left up to interpretation by the listener, with a vast range of pop, rap, blues and rock.

The playlist resurfaces some authentic music that has been buried under the mass of new artists as well as give insight to the Obamas’ lives.

entertainment.ed@ocolly.com