Accessibility links

Breaking News

President Obama Releases Summer Music Playlists

Syrian men help a wounded woman covered in dust following a strike in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the southern countryside of the rebel-held Idlib province.
Syrian men help a wounded woman covered in dust following a strike in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the southern countryside of the rebel-held Idlib province.
President Obama Releases Summer Music Playlists
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:05:08 0:00

From Aloe Blacc to Esperanza Spalding, 37 musicians are represented in two summer music playlists recently released by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The music is available on Spotify, the streaming music service. The White House page on Spotify has links to playlists from Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, too.

It is the second year the president released a list of favorite summer songs. He also released a list of five summer books.

The list includes songs from more than 50 years of American, British and World music.

Obama starts with jazz stars Miles Davis and Charles Mingus, recorded in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The choices bring listeners through the years, finishing with 27-year-old singer Leon Bridges. Bridges’ song “Smooth Sailin’” came out in the summer of 2015.

The music is organized into two lists. Some songs are meant for a summer day and the others are for the season’s warm nights.

The daytime playlist includes the famous Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations.” It came out in 1966. “Good Vibrations” is considered one of the most important songs of the Beach Boys’ career.

Also included is an extended version of “Sinnerman” by jazz singer Nina Simone. It is more than 10 minutes long. Simone was a popular singer for about 20 years starting in the late 1950s.

Jonathan Prince of Spotify told The New York Times that the service’s most listened-to playlist right now is that of the Commander-in-Chief.

Prince said that was “bananas,” or unusual. He said Obama could come to work at Spotify as a music-chooser when his term ends in January.

Rob Sheffield is a music writer for Rolling Stone. He called the list “extremely good.” He said it is the kind of list that might be written by a music lover or someone working full-time in the music business.

British singer Corinne Bailey Rae is on the playlist, too. Her song “Green Aphrodisiac” is on the nighttime list. She told The New York Times that Obama’s list reflects the influence of soul music from the late 1970s.

After all, that was when Obama was a teenager.

The list also includes Aretha Franklin, Sara Bareilles and Janelle Monae. Combined, the songs have a total running time of just under three hours -- plenty of time if you are relaxing on summer vacation.

The Obamas return to Washington Sunday from a summer trip to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

What do you think of the music on Obama’s playlist? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

streamingadj. playing continuously as data is sent to a computer over the Internet

vibrationn. a feeling that someone or something gives you

bananasadj. (informal) crazy, impressive or surprising

aphrodisiacn. something (such as a food, drink, or drug) that causes or increases sexual desire

reflect v. to show (something): to make (something) known

relax v. to spend time resting or doing something enjoyable especially after you have been doing work