What each 2020 Democratic candidate's walk-out song says about them, according to Pandora's musicologist
- The 2020 campaign is offering voters an eclectic playlist, with over 20 candidates walking out to different songs at events and rallies across the country.
- INSIDER consulted Nolan Gasser, chief musicologist and architect of Pandora Radio's Music Genome Project, to read the tea leaves and help extrapolate what voters might take away from 2020 Democratic candidates' walk-out songs.
- "While it is dangerous (impossible, really) to assert a direct line between a single song and an individual's personality profile, this is often all they give us," Gasser said.
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With over 20 candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination, we've got quite an eclectic playlist for this year's election.
At rallies and various events across the country, each campaign has picked a walk-out song for when their candidate comes out to greet the crowd.INSIDER consulted Nolan Gasser, architect of Pandora Radio's Music Genome Project and its original chief musicologist, to read the tea leaves and help extrapolate what voters might take away from 2020 Democratic candidates' walk-out songs.Advertisement
Gasser, the author of "Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste," does offer this disclaimer: "While it is dangerous (impossible, really) to assert a direct line between a single song and an individual's personality profile, this is often all they give us."some argued Perry's songs were able to say things Clinton couldn't on the campaign trail).
"Presidential candidates must cultivate two things: public enthusiasm and a distinct identity. Beyond the content of their speeches, the candidate's 'theme song' offers perhaps the most visceral and immediate means to those exigencies," Gasser said. "Their chosen song is a targeted effort to reflect the personality, style, and vision of the candidate, while at the same offering the crowd a spirited means to welcome him or her to the rally stage."In reviewing the candidate's song choices, Gasser said some "appear rather poignant and revealing" while others "seem more forced or questionable in their authenticity" or "just odd as either a reflection of personality or as a presidential campaign message."He pointed out two interesting trends in the song choices:Advertisement
- With the exception of Marianne Williamson, every female candidate chose a female artist (or a male/female duet in the case of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard), while every male candidate chose a male artist - except Julián Castro (who chose a song by the late Tejano singer Selena).
- Two different candidates chose songs by the British punk band The Clash, as well as by that most-American of singers, Bruce Springsteen.
Gasser cautioned that his analysis is "slightly tongue-in-cheek," adding that "rather than pass judgment, or be snarky, I've tried to give the candidates the benefit of the doubt and assume a sincere attempt to convey something revealing, useful, and engaging to voters by virtue of their chosen campaign song."
He offered two lines of analysis for each song: the first is a reflection of the music and musicological discourse of the song; the second is a streamlined summary of the lyrical message.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont: "Power to the People," by John Lennon.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts: "9 to 5," by Dolly Parton.Advertisement
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana: "High Hopes," by Panic! at the Disco.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California: "Work That," by Mary J. Blige.Advertisement
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: "Good as Hell," by Lizzo.
Former Vice President Joe Biden: "We Take Care of Our Own," by Bruce Springsteen.Advertisement
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: "Small Town," by John Mellencamp.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey: "Lovely Day," by Bill Withers.Advertisement
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: "The Bullpen," by Dessa.
Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland: "I've Been Everywhere," by Johnny Cash.Advertisement
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado: "The Rising," by Bruce Springsteen.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas: "Clampdown," by the Clash.Advertisement
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California: "Caught Up in the Country," by Rodney Atkins.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee: "Mr. Blue Sky," by Electric Light Orchestra.Advertisement
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio: "Old Town Road," by Lil Nas X.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: "Good Life," by OneRepublic.Advertisement
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: "Rudie Can't Fail," by the Clash.
Andrew Yang: "Return of the Mack," by Mark Morrison.Advertisement
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," by Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye.
Marianne Williamson: "Higher Ground," by Stevie Wonder.Advertisement
Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro: "Baila Esta Cumbia," by Selena.
What each 2020 Democratic candidate's walk-out song says about them, according to Pandora's musicologistAdvertisement
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