Political Swagger
US President Barack Obama smiles as he seats to have lunch with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medve...

Barack Obama Continues To Be Cooler Than Me

OK, does this summer playlist mean Obama's been out there dancing to some Bad Bunny?


While very few people can say they’ve been the president of the United States, even fewer can say they’ve been one of the coolest presidents to ever grace the White House — and that select group of people includes former POTUS Barack Obama. Sure, he may have spent his entire career surrounded by stuffy politicians, but there’s no denying the man’s got taste. Okay, I’ll say it: Barack Obama’s summer 2022 playlist is cooler than mine, and it’s probably cooler than yours, too.

“Every year, I get excited to share my summer playlist because I learn about so many new artists from your replies — it’s an example of how music really can bring us all together,” he wrote in a July 26 Instagram post. He listed a compilation of over 40 songs, ranging from blues and rock classics like “Dancing in the Dark” by his buddy Bruce Springsteen and “Save Me” by Aretha Franklin, to soulful ballads like “Keep Lookin’ Up” by Kacey Musgraves, to club bangers like “Ojitos Lindos” by Bad Bunny and Bomba Estéreo, and everything in between. This playlist is just so wholesome. Honestly, picturing Obama jamming to Harry Styles or Doechii warms my heart.

Although Obama has always included a wide variety of artists on his seasonal playlists, it’s clear he’s got a few favorites, like Franklin, whose name keeps popping up over and over again (for good reason). In 2009, Franklin sang a gorgeous rendition of the national anthem for Obama’s presidential inauguration, and in 2015, she moved the former president to tears when she delivered a performance of “Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors for Carole King tribute.

“You can hear Aretha’s influence across the landscape of American music, no matter the genre,” Obama wrote in a March 2016 letter to David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. “What other artist had that kind of impact? Dylan. Maybe Stevie, Ray Charles. The Beatles and the Stones — but, of course, they’re imports. The jazz giants like Armstrong. But it’s a short list. And if I’m stranded on a desert island, and have ten records to take, I know she’s in the collection,” Obama added. “She’ll remind me of my humanity. What’s essential in all of us. And she just sounds so damn good. Here’s a tip: when you’re deejaying a party, open with ‘Rock Steady.’ ”

So while summer may be short, good music lasts a lifetime, and it seems like Obama understands that in the best way possible. You can listen to his full playlist on Spotify here.