Reporter's Notebook

Theme Songs for Presidential Candidates
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Readers submit tracks they associate with the 2016 presidential candidates. Submit your own via

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For our reader series of songs inspired by presidential candidates, Mark gets ambitious:

In your long list of endeavors this election cycle, I offer an album (in its entirety) that speaks to the different players in the election cycle of 2015-2016: Chris Rea’s Road to Hell, released in 1989. (The Geffen CD issue, which is what I’ve got, included “Let’s Dance.”)

1. “The Road to Hell (Part 1)” - This song is for the Vichy Republicans:

I said ‘mama I come to the valley of the rich
Myself to sell’
She said ‘son this is the road to hell’

2. “The Road to Hell (Part 2)” - This song is for the Independents:

Oh look out world, take a good look
What comes down here
You must learn this lesson fast and learn it well
This ain’t no upwardly mobile freeway
Oh no, this is the road
Said this is the road
This is the road to hell

3. “You Must Be Evil” - This song is for every breathing Democrat
regarding Trump:

Last week, Elaine—who writes our Politics & Policy Daily newsletter—asked readers, “What song should Donald Trump come out to when he walks on stage Thursday night at the Republican National Convention?” The winning picks are here, including a bunch of honorable mentions. Elaine is doing the same contest this week for Hillary Clinton, who speaks tonight in Philly. Scores of you have emailed song recommendations (there’s still time via hello@), and Elaine will be announcing her picks tomorrow, but here’s a teaser from reader Steve Perez:

What song should Hillary Clinton come out to when she walks on stage Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention? Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” because she is afraid to use email these days.


(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)

All this week, via our Politics & Policy Daily newsletter, Elaine asked readers (as she did last week for Trump): “What song should Hillary Clinton come out to when he walks on stage Thursday night at the Republican National Convention?” Last night the actual song was a familiar one from the Clinton campaign: Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” (Personally I prefer my niece’s rendition.) Thank god we didn’t see this song reprised:

So which song did the P&PD team pick among the scores of reader submissions? Helen Reddy’s anthem to Boomer feminism:

The first reader to recommend “I Am Woman” was Howard Cohen, who adds, “I am old enough to have seen Helen Reddy in concert long ago at the now-defunct Universal Amphitheatre (when it was open-air and no roof).”

The runner-up pick from PP&D was “All the Way Up” by Fat Joe and Remy Ma. Other popular entries from readers were “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor (or if you prefer Cake’s version) and “Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette (though that song had zero chance of actually playing at the convention). Another honorable mention for the 30-year national pol is from reader Chris McPeak—Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song and Dance.” Personally I think this song from Elton John would’ve worked well for Clinton (and the music video has the added touch of being shot in Nice, France):

You could never know what it’s like
Your blood like winter freezes just like ice
And there’s a cold lonely light that shines from you
You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use
And did you think this fool could never win
Well look at me, I’m coming back again

(Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)

The reader discussion group known as TAD posted an open thread today called the “2016 Electoral Apocalypse Soundtrack.” Here’s a curated compilation of the ones that struck me the most on this precarious day in U.S. history.

First there’s Patti Smith’s cover of U2’s “Until the End of the World.” A reader known as Chris Sick, Existential Crisis points to “the Dirtbombs singing about the end of the world, in French!” Theoretical Conspiracist suggests “Apocalypse Please!”:

Muse is a little (ok, a lot) histrionic for my tastes, but here’s a track I know that fits like a glove in this thread. It’s “The Final Countdown” for the aughts. APOCALYPSE, PLEASE!

BTW, y’all know about the 30 Songs, 30 Days project (which is now 50 songs) of a bunch of anti-Trump songs? Some of them are excellent, really.

“Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow (ft. Run the Jewels) is far better as a music video. It dramatizes what looks like a Security Council meeting erupting into a violent rap battle. A reader notes how it’s “NSFW af”—including a Trump reference at the 1:16 mark:

Then there’s Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet” (“well maybe a browner planet,” the reader adds.) Another replies with Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing” for its lyric “Fear of a female planet?” Another reader points to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’s “The Weeping Song,” with the lyrics:

Go son, go down to the water
And see the women weeping there
Then go up into the mountains
The men, they are weeping too

Father, why are all the women weeping?
They are all weeping for their men
Then why are all the men there weeping?
They are weeping back at them

Here’s a very familiar score (most famously used in Requiem for a Dream), but it’s mashed up with visuals you almost certainly haven’t seen:

To end on a somewhat optimistic note, here’s Belle and Sebastian’s “Get Me Away From Here I Am Dying”—which, if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics too much, has a sweet, upbeat feel:

Tomorrow for Track of the Day, hopefully we’ll have something less apocalyptic to note. Update from Reader Adrift:

Some suggestions for tracks tomorrow:

Assuming HRC wins: “Wait Your Turn” by Rihanna (with the refrain “The wait is over, the wait is over)

In case of Trump win: “Big Yellow Taxi” Joni Mitchell

If undecided by tomorrow: “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)