For the second year in a row, President Obama hand-picked his favorite songs for a summer playlist. This year’s list quickly went viral.
So, OK, you may already have listened to all 39 songs, but study Obama’s playlist carefully and you may learn a bit more about the 44th president:
1. Next job after the White House?
— Spotify (@Spotify) August 11, 2016
“If he wants a job curating music when this presidential gig is over, we’d take him in a second,” Spotify spokesman Jonathan Prince told the New York Times, noting that Obama’s playlist was the most listened-to on the music-streaming service within a day of its release.
“For a playlist to hit Number 1 globally on its own out of nowhere is just bananas,” Prince said.
Rolling Stone’s music critic Rob Sheffield said the list is so good it might have been written by someone working full time in the music business.
2. Eclectic taste
The Secret Service — the agency tasked with protecting the president and his family — gives code names to every member of the first family. Obama’s is Renegade, but given the wide variety of music on his list, the president might want to borrow the “Renaissance” moniker from his wife.
His list includes songs from late jazz stars like Miles Davis and Charles Mingus (above) and contemporary artists like Esperanza Spalding and Fiona Apple.
Indie rock is represented by artists like Australian singer Courtney Barnett (above), and hip-hop by Common and Chance the Rapper.
Others making the list are soul singers Aloe Blacc (above), gospel/soul singer Leon Bridges and Manu Chao, a reggae/punk/ska artist who sings in an array of languages, including French, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan and Galician.
3. He holds on to his Hawaiian roots
A beach theme runs through the president’s music playlist and his summer vacation reading list. It may be because he likes to hit the beach at Martha’s Vineyard during his summer vacations. It could also reflect that Obama grew up in Hawaii. The playlist includes the Beach Boys’ iconic 1966 surfer tune “Good Vibrations” (above).
Further evidence: The president’s reading list includes the Pulitzer Prize–winning Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan, who got his start in Hawaii too.
4. The man stays organized, even while rocking out
Obama sets a pace by ordering his songs, dividing them into daytime- and nighttime-listening lists. Daytime includes songs like Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” (above) and “So Ambitious” by Jay Z, featuring Pharrell.
Songs set aside for night include Anthony Hamilton’s “Do You Feel Me?”, Janet Jackson’s “I Get Lonely” and Billie Holiday’s “Lover Man” (above).
— SoulBounce (@SoulBounce) August 11, 2016
5. NOT on the list
A genre absent from the list: country/western. Maybe next year?
And while some big names — such as Beyoncé, John Legend and Justin Timberlake — didn’t make the cut, don’t worry. They all made the president’s 2015 list.