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Post-Election Mix Tape

Marc Sanchez

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Post-Election Mix Tape
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The polls closed and a new president was elected. At that moment, at that precise instant when your candidate won or lost, what was going through your head? Emotions ran high from every side of the political spectrum, and sometimes those emotions are best expressed through song. We reached out to some friends of the show to find out what songs best describe their post-election mood. We put them together for a post-election mixtape.


Jesse Thorn:

Song: "We're A Winner" by The Impressions

Barack Obama made a very specific choice to remain graceful and continue to offer people hope rather than negativity. And, you know, that sounds kind of naive, but there's something about the way he does it. Just like there's something about the way The Impressions sing "We're A Winner" that makes you feel in your heart like everything's going to be OK. It's not an angry song at all, but neither is it a conciliatory song. Essentially, it's a song that says, if we will only accept equality and remain graceful and hold our heads high, we can't help but win.

Sofia Dickens:

Song: "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson

I'm Sofia Dickens, and I'm a television host and a Republican. One song that came to mind was "It's My Party, and I'll Cry if I Want To." That one pretty much speaks for itself. And I actually thought of "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson. Every American was touched by the historic moment. We all saw that the American Dream is real. I think many Republicans see this win as more of a popularity contest where the qualifications for winning the presidency don't match up with the very serious executive office of the presidency. Republicans took a lot of heat for their beauty pageant VP pick, but the Dems did choose somebody whose performance skills are perhaps better than his governing skills.

Reihan Salam:

Song: "Welfare Bread" by King Khan and the Shrines

I'm Reihan Salam. I'm a writer and editor at the Atlantic and a fellow at the New America Foundation, and I consider myself a conservative. There's a really terrific song by King Khan and the Shrines called "Welfare Bread." I remember late in the campaign John McCain was accusing Barack Obama of wanting to raise your taxes and spend all the money on welfare, and it seemed that Americans were actually pretty excited about that idea. "Welfare Bread" is a song about a man telling a woman he loves that she doesn't have to worry about working anymore; she can just eat his welfare bread. Which sounds like a - even as a conservative - a pretty charming and lovely idea. So I'm looking for my own slice of welfare bread, and maybe you are, too.

Matt Kaplan:

Song: "Everybody Rejoice" by The Wiz Original Broadway Cast

I'm Matt Kaplan. I don't consider myself a Republican or a Democrat, but I'm an unrepentant liberal. A song that I'd been thinking about going up to the election and hoping that I could play was "Everybody Rejoice" from the musical "The Wiz." I didn't want to, you know, celebrate early - I wouldn't go there. I waited until after the polls had closed in California and Oregon and Washington, and then I said, you know, it's no question. Obama had won. And then I went back to my computer, and I played it. It was great.


Extra Songs for your Post-Election Playlist:

Rick Moody:

Song: "Chocolate City" by Parliament Funkadelic

From the much distant era of the middle 1970s, the idea about what it might be like if there were an African-American person in the White House! Admittedly, this P. Funk song has its profane moments, but those were the 1970s, and that was the funk idiom. Obama could never have played "Chocolate City" during the general election run, lest he should scare off those citizens of Northwestern Pa., but now we can play it with abandon. It's about time the president of the United States represented everyone!

John Flynn:

Song: "Dancing In The Streets" by Martha and the Vandellas

That's what happened - and it's a song with a big sound and a big message: "Calling out around the world." Yes, we are.

Michael Gillespie:

Songs: "Hard Travelin" by Woddy Guthrie, "Talkin 'Bout A Revolution" by Tracy Chapman, "All You Fascists" by Billy Bragg and Wilco, "The Times They Are A Changin'" by Bob Dylan, "Wonderful World Beautiful People" by Jimmy Cliff

These songs move from struggle to celebration, anticipation to realization. I am not African-American, but, as sociologist, understand the gravity of the election. To me, these songs represent the transition from a search for a political voice to the manifestation of that voice through an unlikely person.

Rebecca Davey:

Song: "Double Vision" by Foreigner

All the smear ads and the comedy sketches blurred the vision of the true election and the importance of the office of president.

Christine Turner:

Song: "There Will Be A New Day" by Greg Gilpin

It is the first song which came to mind after the Obama victory had been announced. We sang it in May 2008 in a community choir and several of the members mentioned that it made them think of the imminent presidential elections. I was almost afraid to sing it at our concert for fear the dream might not come true. Now I can sing it with joy and renewed hope. For the past eight years, I have doubted my decision to become a U.S. citizen. Now I feel at home.

Kurt Lysek:

Song: "Against The Wind" by Bob Seger

Being in my late 40s, I can identify with the line "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Then I could be in ignorant euphoria like the Obama supporters.

Tim Smith:

Song: "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens

It's thoughtful, hopeful and energetic all at the same time. Some might call it too idealistic, but Barack Obama's campaign was built on idealism. We have been on the edge of darkness, but many believe the world might just live as one. We certainly won't if we don't start the process. With this election I think we have begun.

John Duffy:

Song: "Land of Hope and Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen

No other song I know of captures the heady optimism and determination that Obama's victory brought. Even people I know who voted against him are coming around to think he might be a good thing after all.

Roger Sullivan:

Songs: "Come Sail Away" and "Political Science" by Randy Newman

"Come Sail Away" reminds me that in America every man is free to take care of his home and family. We don't have run through the jungle and scuff up your feet. One of those songs about how great we have it.

Barb Fairman:

Song: "76 Unknowns" by the Capitol Steps

I have been listening to it in my car, singing along (of course), and it talks about the start of this election two loooonnnnnnggggg years ago. The ironic part of this song is at the end (keep in mind that this was recorded well before the Democratic National Convention), they sing that Biden has already announced that he will be running in 2012. Seriously.

Phoebe Connelly:

Songs: "This Will Never Happen" by Herman Dune, "Laisse Tomber Les Fillies" by France Gall, and "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne

"This Will Never Happen" was perfect Election Day listening music, as the title hints at everything Obama supporters feared, but the actual lyrics "And I was sad and I had cried/'cause I thought that maybe baby/you would have stopped loving me/But then you went/This would never ever happen baby," are entirely positive.

"Laisse Tomber Les Filles" - Is there any better way to show disdain for the past eight years than to listen to French pop? I didn't think so.

"Band of Gold" is a classic dance jam, right in line with my desire to have a nonstop dance party for the next month running. Also, there's a crazy YouTube clip of her dancing to this song in front of the Washington Monument and other DC landmarks! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlkgwwW-ZpM)

Frances Perkins:

Song: "Oh Happy Day" by Mahalia Jackson

Important note first: In no way do I remotely confuse Barack Obama with Jesus. BUT!! This country has wandered in the Republican wilderness too long, suffered too harshly from Republican selfishness and greed, and courted destruction on all sides. ...Now at last, despite the long hard road ahead, I believe God has answered the prayers of those who travail. He has sent us a worthy leader to take up where Bobby Kennedy left off. Every day I will pray for his safety, goodness and wisdom.

  • Music Bridge:
    Everybody Rejoice
    Artist: Original Cast Recording
    CD: The Wiz (Atlantic)


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By David Briggs

    From Charlotte, NC, 11/17/2008

    This list HAS to include "I'll Take You There" by the Staple singers. It should include "Yes We Can Can" by the Pointer Sisters, (Back when there were four of them.) I'd also suggest "Come on Over" by Rob Thomas. Finally, I'd edit out all fot the verses and include just from 3 minutes in until the end of "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed. The way the chorus of voices comes forward, followed by that awesome sax solo played against the violins is just somehow perfect.

    By Robert Brigham

    From Durham, NC, 11/15/2008

    Songs: “New World Coming” by Mama Cass Elliott. “Medley: The Declaration/ A Change Is Gonna Come/ People Gotta Be Free” by The Fifth Dimension. “O-o-h Child” by The Five Stairsteps. “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells. “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. “Back in the USA” by Linda Ronstadt. “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies. “Praan” by Palbasha Siddique, popularized in the “WherethehellisMatt 2008” video.

    I wouldn’t know some of this music but for much older sibs. Mama Cass proclaims a new dawn: “There’s a new world coming, and it’s just around the bend. There’s a new world coming, this one’s coming to an end …” The Fifth Dimension sings a stirring version of the Declaration of Independence (partial), followed by a powerful solo anthem and then a group anthem that will propel you out of your seat. Then two more oldies and a spiritual embodying hope. “Back in the USA” because I feel like this is a land I can exist in once again. (Just personal taste I prefer Linda over Chuck Berry.) The Hollies speak to our common brother/sisterhood, appropriate now that African Americans are fully part of the American family. Finally, a modern spiritual from India that is just transcendent.

    By Nancy Moe

    From Evanston, IL, 11/15/2008

    The music that would pop into my mind (unbidden)when I was relaxed and considered the positive change that could happen with Obama's win, was the refrain from Van Morrison's song 'Take It Where You Find It' from the 1978 album 'Wavelength'. The words to the refrain are 'Change come over'.

    By Richard Harnack

    From St Louis, MO, 11/10/2008

    For me there is only one song appropriate to this elction of Barack Obama -- Ray Charles singing "America the Beautiful", especially as is found on his Anthology from 1989.

    By Jon Austin

    From Philadelphia, PA, 11/10/2008

    While it may be inspired by another pivotial moment of the 20th century(the Berlin Wall), the song that kept spinning through my mind during the campaign season and up to the inaguration is Jesus Jone's 'Right Here, Right Now.' That line in the chorus '...watching the world wake up from history' sums up my own sense that this election closed the book on the 20th century and finally gave everyone permission to look forward instead to staying held back....

    By Halvard Simonsen


    Atlas Sound - Quarantined

    "Quarantined and kept so far away from my friends. I am waiting to be changed."

    By Bill Hayes

    From Boulder, CO, 11/10/2008

    Song: "There's Your Trouble" by Dixie Chicks

    Came in late to this thread and a bit disheartened by some of the posts by fellow conservatives. As a Republican who voted for Bush the first time, I woke up and vote for "that other guy" this time.

    This song best expresses my feeling as I finally called it a loss and cashed in my chips. The GOP can have me back when they are more than a party of bombs, business, and bedrooms.

    By Raymond Herrera

    From Pullman, WA, 11/10/2008

    Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" came to mind the morning after the election, and I've been singing it ever since. Selected lyrics- " . . .Then I look at you
    And the world's alright with me
    Just one look at you
    And I know it's gonna be
    A lovely day
    ... lovely day, lovely day, lovely day ...

    By Chris Keyes-Back

    From Seattle, WA, 11/09/2008

    Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" has been running through my head since the election. I hear in it the history just made and the hard work to come. It is both hopeful and somber, which reflects my feelings.

    By Judith Alexander

    From Oak Park, IL, 11/09/2008

    P.S. Also, how could I have forgotten George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun"? For Baby Boomer Progressives like me, it really has been a "long, long lonely winter." But now, "here comes the sun, and it's all right"! Who would have thought a song written decades ago would be so relevant now?

    By Judith Alexander

    From Oak Park, IL, 11/09/2008

    Like other listeners, I also thought of "Dancing in the Streets" after Obama was declared our President-elect, as well as Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come". To this I'll add the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited". Yes, I know the song is about excitement of a more romantic nature, but something about the melody, the beat and the refrain capture how I felt and still feel: "Tonight's the night we're gonna make it happen. Tonight we'll put all other things aside..." and then the refrain -- "I'm so excited, I just can't hide it!"

    By Kaara Kallen

    From Chicago, IL, 11/09/2008

    There are two songs that keep running through my mind, and my ipod. The first is the song they played at the election night rally right after Obama was announced as President Elect, at 10pm: "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," by Stevie Wonder. The crowd erupted into several minutes of cheers, hugs, and happy tears, and when this song came on everyone started dancing and singing along. The atmosphere was one of amazed elation; the words seemed necessary for folks to assure and reassure themselves that this was real, that this was really happening. The other song, Leela James' version of the Sam Cooke song "A Change Is Gonna Come," captures the hope and inspired energy that the Obama campaign embodied for me, and the joy and relief I feel at the prospect of finally being welcomed in my own country as a "real" American.

    By Julianne Daley

    From Boothbay Harbor, ME, 11/09/2008

    India Arie's song "Better People" is about how we would all be better people if we talked and listened to each other more. "if old people would talk to young people", "if black people would talk to white people", "it would make us better people". "If Republican people talked to Democratic people it would make us diplomatic people all around..." She adds a cute little laugh after that line, but I think it reflects her hope that more dialogue between these and other groups would happen. I think we've got the right man to get this to really happen.

    By Teri Hockett

    From Tulsa, OK, 11/09/2008

    IMAGINE by John Lennon Barak Obama has opened up a world of "audacious hope" for this country, and allows all of us to imagine a better, brighter, gentler world. Ba-Rock On!

    By Keith Ammann

    From Freeport, IL, 11/09/2008

    "Sing Our Own Song" by UB40.

    By elizabeth dunn

    From roseville, MN, 11/09/2008

    Watching election coverage Tuesday night I saw the scenes from people around the world--Kenya, Australia, Indonesia, Italy, and more--ecstatically cheering with us and for us, and thought of the O'Jay's celebratory "Love Train." A classic!

    By Caroline Beaumont

    From Hamilton, MA, 11/09/2008

    "Wana Baraka" ("You are blessed") traditional Swahili folk song from Kenya--Beautiful melody, complex rhythm, and harmony that bridge the Western and African, perfect emotional and celebratory tone---timeless but timely. I've most often seen it performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale as part of the PBS christmas program but I don't believe the LAMC has recorded it. The best recording I've found is by the Choir at University of Wisconsin-River Falls; you can find it at: https://www.soundclick.com
    Several performances on YouTube, one of the best of which is the NMSU (Northwest Missouri State University) Tower Choir's. Play it on repeat.

    By Thomas Roe

    From Los Angeles, CA, 11/09/2008

    Obama's election theme:
    At last, vocal by Etta James says it very well

    By Lindsey Culli

    From Baltimore, 11/08/2008

    "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.... also the recent cover of the same tune by Ben Sollee with appropriately modern lyrics.

    By Stacy Cooper

    From Boston, MA, 11/08/2008

    Eva Cassidy's People Get Ready has been running through my mind throughout this election season

    By Maury Landsman

    From Minneapolis, MN, 11/08/2008

    Paul Simon's "American Tune" Prt of it was used for a late 3rd party Obama ad last week. It speaks to the misery we have endured, but it also speaks to the resilience of the American spirit. We can't be sure that we will ever get back to where we were, but we will be getting back to work. Maybe a bit less hopeful or celebratory than some others, but realistic.

    By Juanita Gilmore

    From Glendale, CA, 11/08/2008

    I also like "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens. Another song that came to mind was "Shed a Little Light" by James Taylor which stars out with "let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women, living on the earth, ties of hope and love, of sister and brotherhood" I know we have a long way to go, but I am full of hope.

    By Al Taylor

    From Puyallup, WA, 11/08/2008

    When Bush was elected I made a play list that reflected my despair. With the last election I see a new hope. Here are some of the songs I have picked to reflect that: We Shall Overcome by Bruce Springsteen, Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel, Wind Blowing Change by Will Kimbrough, Series of Dreams by Bob Dylan, The River of Dreams by Billy Joel, Waiting for the World to Change by Yothu Yindi, The Changes by Carlos Santan and Buddy Miles, See the Changes by Crosby, Stills and Nash, Against the Wind by Doyle bramhall, (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding by Keb Mo, Peace On Earth by U2, Bye Bye Bush bu Concerned Citizens.

    By timothy breen

    From freeport, ME, 11/08/2008

    Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)", because there is so much work to do (Cue the Average White Band), beginning with the inner cities.
    Also, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", because this Election was for the young people who voted for the first time.
    Right on.

    By Howard Rush

    From Bellevue, WA, 11/08/2008

    "Lookin' for a Leader" is a 2006 fairy-tale-idealistic song by Neil Young. So far, we're following Young's script.

    However, whenever I hear a campaign speech I think of John Moe's Rewind skit about free ponies.

    By Edward Bates

    From West Dundee, IL, 11/08/2008

    Although I see others have already indicated this title; to me, there is no contest. I began thinking about Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a Changin" before the election result. Listen to the lyrics again and see if you agree. Is there any better contemporary lyrical American story teller than Dylan? And to think that he released it 44 years ago during another time of significant change.

    By Shanti Volkmann

    From Seattle, WA, 11/08/2008

    "You can get it if you really want" by Jimmy Cliff really rings true this year. So many people worked so hard and made this change in leadership happen. I'm a life long Democrat and I am elated and proud of this win for Barack Obama, myself, my family and especially this country.

    By Andi Frank

    From Seattle, WA, 11/08/2008

    I grew up in Chicago and I find myself revisting some old songs with new emotions of hope and joy: Richie Haven's "Freedom"
    and Grahm Nash, "Chicago." Yes we can change the world!

    By Lisa Flaum

    From Waterloo, IL, 11/08/2008

    Let the River Run by Carly Simon

    "We're coming to the edge, running on the water, coming through the fog, your sons and daughters. Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation."

    I grew up in the 60s, in a multi-ethnic community. I was in my late teens before I realized that much of the rest of the country was operating, consciously or not, on white privilege. I've waited a long time for the dreamers to wake the nation and hear our leaders say that the similarities that unite us are stronger and more important than the differences that divide us.

    By Janice Borgwardt

    From Edina, MN, 11/08/2008

    Also: "The Times They are a 'Changing" Bob Dylan

    By Janice Borgwardt

    From Edina, MN, 11/08/2008

    Mix Tape: "Power to the People" John Lennon

    By Patricia Murphy

    From Seattle, WA, 11/08/2008

    "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cook, being woman of mixed ethnic background and often being asked "where are you from" and not always wanting to answer truthfully, I did feel proud to be a fully fledged citizen of the United States. This song has a special meaning to African Americans as it takes us back to the civil rights movement and now we can feel as if we are rounding the corner on that change.

    By Eva Wynn

    From Baltimore, MD, 11/08/2008

    I just had to submit this, because it has been running through my mind for a while now and still also the after th election - "Part of the Union", by the Strawbs. If you've never heard it, it's in the style of a British pub song....I am a Republican. Cheers!!

    By Dana Ludvik

    From Lincoln, NE, 11/08/2008

    I thought of hopeful songs, like The Polyphonic Spree's "It's the Sun." The song builds and eventually errupts with the chorus "Hey, it's the sun, and it makes me smile." I think America is riding this wave of hope right now and it feels really good to soak it up--like the sunshine. Tuesday night, after long years eight years of disappointment, it seems like America saw the clouds part and could celebrate the idea that "soon, we'll be Ok" like the song says.

    By Emily Short

    From Minneapolis, MN, 11/08/2008

    It is fair to say that I am an Independent on days that I want to get along with people and a Libertarian on days I don't care. As I watched Obama give his speech and the camera pan through the crowd, all I could think was the lyrics to the song "Babba O'Reily" by the Who. Especially the lyrics that mention a "teenage wasteland", but cause of the ridiculous amounts of votes that Obama received from people whom were not legally responsible enough to drink alcohol...

    By Ellen Deller

    From Tulsa, OK, 11/08/2008

    The very song Barack Obama invoked in his acceptance speech: "It's been a long time coming, but I know, a Change is Going to Come," by the wonderful Sam Cooke (and Otis Redding did a great version too). And then, looking at our new president-elect and his beautiful wife and children, I think of Aretha Franklin singing, "To Be Young Gifted and Black."

    By Don Solomon

    From Boston, MA, 11/08/2008

    Song: "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Barbra Streisand

    Most of my baby boomer friends and I have not seen our side win very often since the Kennedy-Johnson years. However, Obama is better compared to FDR, in terms of his abilities and the terrible state of our economy when he will be inaugurated. This was the theme song of the day (recorded by Johnny Marvin and Leo Reisman, among others) and became the theme of the Democrats for many years. When Barbra recorded it in the early days of Camelot, it resonated for me just as it does now. "Your cares and troubles are gone; there'll be no more from now on. Happy days are here again; the skies above are clear again..."

    By Joel Lurvey

    From Minneapolis, MN, 11/08/2008

    "Let the Day Begin" by The Call.

    'Nuff said

    By Tamar Besson

    From san francisco, CA, 11/08/2008

    I never ever have written to a radio station...but since the election I have been humming, singing and smiling to "Can you feel a brand new day". After hearing it on your show I stopped what I was doing, starting dancing and crying all over again. My heart is full, the sky is bluer, the sun is bright. I CAN feel a brand new day!!!

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