DJ Obama

February 20th, 2008

As a political science major (and junkie), it’s hard for me not to get sucked into everything that is going on in the political arena. So, I was intrigued when I learned, via YouTube, that there are songs made about the candidates and by the candidates. Some of these songs, well, aren’t so serious, hence Obama Girl’s “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama.” However, other songs aid the candidates’ campaigns, like Barack Obama’s song “Yes We Can.” I find these songs are an interesting way for music to play a role in our current presidential race. In 2004, it was popular for celebrities, like P. Diddy and Paris Hilton, to endorse candidates, especially
with the Vote or Die campaign. Going into this election, the use of music seems to be the key. Even in spoofs, like Mad TV’s “Umbrella” featuring a fake Obama and Clinton, music still has a voice in politics. I especially found Obama’s “Yes We Can” intriguing because it creates music out of an ordinary political speech. The song, mainly featuring of the Black Eyed Peas and other celebrities, like John Legend and actress Scarlett Johansson, plays on one of Barack’s speeches and turns it into a folksy song, performed with acoustic guitar and raw vocals. The artists lyrically recite different lines from the speech, with the chorus basically being “Yes We Can.” The song mainly caught my attention because music isn’t typically the type of tool one uses during a campaign. Debates, television ads, interviews and public appearances are all popular methods but music typically isn’t. I think this use of music shows how candidates are evolving their campaign techniques. This is a big election year, since there is no incumbent and both nominees will be seen as challengers. It is basically an open race, so they are willing to do whatever it takes to become President of the United States, and if that means using the music industry, then so be it. Overall, it will definitely be interesting as this race progresses, and Obama comes closer to winning the Democratic nomination, to see what other musical performances and mediums appear in support of the candidates.