Barack Obama’s Song Choice Brings Together Republicans, Democrats, And Trance Lovers

Aug 29th, 2008 // 8 Comments


After Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama finished his (terrific) speech last night, the twangy chords of Brooks & Dunn’s “Only In America” flooded Invesco Field, as well as the speakers of all those people watching at home. With its lyrics about big American dreams and how they sometimes fail, it was a natural fit with the “let’s make America great again” thrust of Obama’s speech. (Curiously, the track was also used by George W. Bush’s campaigns in 2004, although I’m going to chalk that up to another case of “campaign song choice that’s the result of only listening to the title being sung.”) But how did the song choice play out there? Let’s go to what is, for better or worse, a representative sampling of our citizenry: The comments section of the video’s official home on YouTube.

First, let’s hear from a Republican, just for the purposes of “equal time”:

It is funny how Obama used this song just like Bush did in 2004.By the way Brooks & Dunn are both Republicans.Go John McCain 2008!!!

It’s true that, in addition to having their track soundtrack Bush’s 2004 campaign, the duo performed at a Republican event that year. But while searching for writeups of Chris Willman’s Rednecks & Bluenecks, which looks at politics in country music and will probably be very key reading for this election, I found this nugget:

Ronnie Dunn, of the superstar duo Brooks & Dunn, not only played at Bush’s first inaugural but also is a “boot-scootin’ policy wonk” who reads widely on the history of Islam. He’s a hawk on Iraq, but also notes that “right now, religion scares me to death. Historically, it’s probably the cause of more deaths than any other force on the planet. … Here, you turn on the TV and see these TV evangelists going at it and you want to say, Give me some air. Back away from the pulpit, dude!”

So who knows; perhaps they’ll come out and actually say something about their song choice, and how the election’s going so far. (I do wonder how Brooks felt about that faith forum.) And besides, as another YouTube commenter pointed out:

Maybe because it’s such an all-American song that doesn’t belong to any party??? McCain doesn’t have a chance after tonight. He’s out of his depth.

This guy isn’t the only person out there who feels that whether or not “Only In America” is a great song or not is a non-partisan case:

Can we just STOP relating this to Obama and McCain?!?

It’s a great song and has been since I was young.

Ha ha, fat chance there! So much for your memories. At least this person decided to tie the song to Obama in a hopeful way:

Perfect song, perfect moment! I hope Barack picks supreme court justices like he picks song to follow his big speech.

Sure, that comment was in the form of a complete sentence. But how do people who learned English from their cell phones feel?

damnnnn lol olol i heard this at obama speech 2 its funny how things bring us 2gether guys its time for the change we need it real bad go obama goo

And finally, the all-important “American trance fan” demographic weighs in:

I’m a huge trance music lover. But I heard this song for the first time tonight after Obama’s speech. I LOVE this song!!! Great lyrics and music.

So, who’s going to do the inevitable remix of this track for its crossover to this vital segment of the voting populace? (Not will.i.am, right? Please not will.i.am.)

Brooks & Dunn – Only In America [YouTube]
Only In America [MySpace]

  1. JDR

    Ronnie Dunn went to seminary to be a preacher before turning to a career in music so it’s not surprising that he’s well-versed in religious studies.

  2. Anonymous

    Does anyone know what song was playing before his speech? It was strangely familiar, in that “I think I’ve heard this instrumental track somewhere but it sounds vaguely like 9 other songs” way.

  3. Chris N.

    That would be “City of Blinding Lights” by U2.

  4. Anonymous

    Re: “campaign song choice that’s the result of only listening to the
    title being sung.”

    I assume you’re referring to 1984, when Reagan adopted “Born in the USA”
    as his theme? That made my jaw drop. Springsteen was pretty pissed, and
    he denounced Reagan for it.

  5. dippinkind

    speaking of music, they were playing Born in the USA last night too – did no one there remember the mocking reagan got in ’84 for using that song? ‘nowhere to run aint got nowhere to go’ just doesnt sound that hope-ish.

  6. TriedandTrue

    @dippinkind: Well it makes a LOT more sense for Obama to play “Born in the USA” – especially now. A man, coming back from the war to find no opportunties are left for him. Looking at our situation, our economy – the lyrics fit the times.

  7. Captain Wrong

    @dippinkind: I had the same thought. Half expected to hear Rockin’ in the Free World too.

  8. great start to the nfl season, vick looked amazing

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