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Obama on indie rock kick in latest playlist

2 min

New York (AFP)

How have Barack Obama's musical tastes changed in his last year in the White House? Judging from his playlists, he is getting into more indie rock.

Obama on Thursday for the second year in a row released summer playlists on streaming service Spotify, revealing what's on his speakers as he relaxes with his family on an annual holiday to tony Martha's Vineyard.

Like the previous year, Obama's two playlists -- one for daytime and one for nighttime listening -- have plenty of classics including songs from Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Miles Davis and The Beach Boys.

But he also showed a taste for indie rock this year. He listed "Elevator Operator" by Courtney Barnett, the Australian songwriter who has recently built a strong if niche following with her droll lyricism.

Obama also picked "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, indie rockers who incidentally were prominent campaigners for former Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders.

While most of Obama's musical choices steered clear of politics, an exception was "Forever Begins" by the Chicago rapper Common, a track produced by Kanye West that delves into the civil rights struggle and touches on gun violence.

The president also chose Fiona Apple's 1997 hit "Criminal," a song often interpreted as feminist with its theme of male fragility in the face of female sexuality.

Obama did not confine his selections to US artists. He chose a track by Caetano Veloso, a prominent figure in Brazil's tropicalia movement and outspoken critic of the country's former military dictatorship.

Obama chose Veloso's version of "Cucurrucucu Paloma," an often-covered Mexican song of longing that was popularized in part by Harry Belafonte, the US singer also active in leftist politics.

Also on one of Obama's playlists was "Me Gustas Tu" by Manu Chao, the Parisian singer of Spanish descent known for his attacks on globalization.

Other prominent artists whose tracks have Obama's ear include pop superstar Janet Jackson, reclusive R&B sensation D'Angelo, soul singer Janelle Monae and blues rocker Gary Clark Jr.

Obama has often spoken of his love of discovering music and has invited artists to the White House including late pop icon Prince and politically conscious rapper Kendrick Lamar.

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