I Agree With John McCain
August 15, 2008, 12:04 PM
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The AP reports:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama and John McCain agree on Frank Sinatra.

The two presidential candidates offered widely different top 10 favorite songs to Blender magazine but shared the same appreciation for Ol' Blue Eyes. Obama chose "You'd Be So Easy to Love," while McCain liked "I've Got You Under My Skin." In the September issue, on sale nationwide Tuesday, the candidates delivered their list.

McCain prefers ABBA's disco classic "Dancing Queen." Obama favors the hip-hop jam "Ready or Not" by the Fugees.

Obama, the Illinois Democrat, chose Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" as his No. 2 pick after the Fugees. Songs "I'm on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stone's "Gimme Shelter" and Nina Simone's "Sinnerman" rounded out his leading five. Other artists on Obama's list were Kanye West, U2 and Aretha Franklin. The contender also gave a nod to will.i.am and his Internet sensation, "Yes We Can," which was written for Obama.

ABBA made McCain's list twice. "Take A Chance On Me" came in third among the Arizona Republican's picks. Rocker Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou" ranked second. Country singer Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" and Dooley Wilson's "As Time Goes By" were in his top five.

McCain also selected songs from the Beach Boys, Louis Armstrong, Neil Diamond and The Platters. /blockquote> "Dancing Queen" isn't my favorite song of all time, but, man, is it ever great. I recall going to a concert decades ago of some critics' favorite like Peter Tosh or Gang of Four, and when it was over, the concert hall put on "Dancing Queen" as the most Top 40 hit imaginable to clear everybody out pronto. For the next few days, I couldn't remember any songs by the esteemed band I'd seen and I couldn't get "Dancing Queen" out of my head.

Also, Frank Sinatra's version of Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin" is perfection. And I was watching "Casablanca" last year, and after a half hour or so, I was thinking, "This isn't really as good as I remember." Then, boom, they start the song up. "As Time Goes By" makes "Casablanca" "Casablanca."

In contrast, Obama's list seems finicky, pretentious, and political. "Gimme Shelter" is the intellectual's favorite Rolling Stones song, but there are lots of more fun ones, like "Get Off My Cloud," "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Honky-Tonk Women," and (by commenter's reminder) "Brown Sugar." (I don't think Mrs. Obama would approve of that one.) "What's Going On" is nice, but critics rave over it because it's politically leftist, unlike 99.9% of the great songs of the 1964-1971 era.

It's quite funny, actually, how there's so little in the way of leftist lyrics in rock songs from the Sixties and early Seventies. It drives critics crazy. When it comes to politics, you tend to get Lafferite ("Taxman" and "Ball of Confusion") or anti-radical ("Revolution," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Streetfighting Man," "Won't Get Fooled Again," and a bunch of Kinks songs). "Fortunate Son" is a great song, but it's pure redneck populism. Bob Dylan, the critics' hero, actually wrecked the one leftist musical form, folk, first by taking it introspective and away from picket-line singalongs, then dumping it for electric guitar rock.