So the election is over, leaving the American populace in election withdrawal and, in acute cases, with severe episodes of delirium tremens. Just look at your Facebook friends’ status messages. Some of them probably look like this:
“What am I supposed to post on Facebook now that the election is over?”
“Help! I don’t know how to fill this post November 4th void! I feel empty inside.”
“Now what do we talk about?”
Well, for starters, the markets are still behaving like a ride at Six Flags, and Suze Orman will continue to shriek in glee as she denies you all of your material desires. But we don’t want to yank away the warm fuzzy blanket of hope and change and shock you back to reality with a cold blast of gloom and doom just yet. Let’s instead look forward to January 20th.
On that day, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. Since Watergate, cynicism has pervaded national politics. Until Barack Obama’s campaign, no recent politician has inspired voters to believe in the political process or inspired musicians to create works of art in support of his candidacy. Even Obama’s detractors cannot deny that his campaign was historic and represented a cultural shift in the landscape of American politics.
And really, can you imagine Will.i.am or any other artist creating the “Yes We Can” song for John Kerry?
I didn’t think so.
It would only be fitting for an inspired and current musical act to provide the live soundtrack to Obama’s inauguration. Certainly, as the Chicago Sun-Times suggests, the band or artist should be from Chicago.
To mangle a line from J. Lo: “Don’t be fooled by the votes that he got, he’s just Barry from the block.” So which Chicago band or artist should perform at Obama’s inauguration?
The way Wilco built their fan base by marketing their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on the internet may mirror the way the Obama campaign built its voter base, but that is where the similarities end. Lo-fi indie pop is appropriate for quiet conversations in coffee shops and getting into philosophical conversations under the influence of cannabis in college dorm rooms, but Obama’s campaign was an inspired movement that resulted in nothing less than a massive thumping of epic proportions.
Think about it: Even if the state of California had fallen into the ocean the day before the election, Obama would have still obtained the magic 270 electoral vote — and then some. Obama’s barrier-shattering campaign was a force of nature, and Obama needs a muse that will set the tone of his presidency, which will hopefully be just as phenomenal as his campaign.
Quiet thoughtfulness and earnestness can only take you so far. Wilco is the musical equivalent of Jimmy Carter, and we know how that turned out.
Back in 2004 when she was the sixth of 12 finalists to be voted off the third season of American Idol, if Jennifer Hudson had said that she intended to win an Oscar, anyone willing to listen would have called the statement an impossible dream — a “fairy tale” if you will. Sound familiar?
Hudson’s improbable and meteoric rise buoyed by sheer talent parallels that of Obama. Plus, the woman has pipes and can get a crowd to rise to its feet. If anything, she should at least sing the national anthem, like she did at the Democratic Convention, upon Obama’s personal invitation.
The iconic band of the 1990s can put on a crowd-pleasing theatrical show and can fill a stadium with a powerful wall of melodic noise. Despite their resurgence, however, they were a band of the Clinton era.
Although the Clinton presidency was a time when the economy was strong and when the worst national news was a stain on a blue dress — as opposed to thousands of dead soldiers and trillions of dollars of national debt — we want to look forward, not backwards. Plus, according to reviews of recent shows, the Smashing Pumpkins, like the Clintons, have lost that certain je ne sais quoi, that — dare I say it — rock star quality.
Let’s live in the present, shall we?
Fall Out Boy
Nowadays, you can’t turn on MTV or peruse a music mag without seeing Pete Wentz’s doe-eyed mug, so you might as well sit back and get used to it. Although Generation Y’s stamp of approval might seem to brand Fall Out Boy as the appropriate voice for the soundtrack of Obama’s inauguration, lyrics such as, “This ain’t a scene, it’s a goddamn arms race,” is more Reagan than Obama, and we don’t want to get into a pissing contest with the Russians again.
Furthermore, lyrics like “Thanks for the memories, even though they weren’t so great,” are the opposite of hopeful. They are bitter and depressing. Fall Out Boy, behind their chipper-looking photo shoots and upbeat melodies, are a bunch of Debbie downers, and they shall never overcome. Pass.
Some people may say that Kanye West’s temperament is a bit like John McCain’s. He can be hot-headed, crotchety, and a royal pain in the ass.
On the other hand, he is passionate, talented, and relevant. As to his personality flaws, let’s just call those the yin to Obama’s yang. Plus, who can argue with the uplifting song titles and lyrics of, “Touch the Sky” and “The Good Life”?
West’s brand of infectious and positive hip-hop would be an appropriate addition to the live soundtrack of Obama’s inauguration. Like Maine and Nebraska, I’m going to split the electoral votes with this one with the majority of the votes going “yes” for West. But if hedecides to become a little too maverick-y, we can always bring in Will.i.am via hologram to provide a more laid-back vibe.
Do any of these get your vote?