Democratic-nominee-to-be Hillary Clinton re-launched her campaign from New York City on Saturday, and to accompany the event, she published an "official 2016 playlist" of songs. (Many of which, I can say first-hand, made it into the rotation before the weekend's event.)
Noted at the outset: There are few things less important in this world than the music choices of presidential candidates. But, hey, Clinton put it out there, so damned if we're not going to over-analyze it.
When Obama released his Spotify playlist in 2012, it at least had the advantage of novelty. It was also a wide mix of genres and was heavy on oldies. The latter is tricky for Clinton, whose re-launch speech included a punchy joke about how Republicans were all stuck listening to the Beatles' "Yesterday," because their policies are yada yada yada. You get the gist.
Clinton's playlist, by contrast, is much more ... commercial. Many of the songs were clearly picked for the messages in their titles: "Best Day Of My Life," "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," "Brave," "Believer," "The Fighter," and "Happy (From 'Despicable Me 2')." But most also share another link: They are deeply embedded in your brain thanks to their use in major commercial campaigns.
Like Katy Perry's "Roar," which Walmart featured.
Or "Best Day Of My Life," which was in a Lowe's spot.
Or "Pumpin' Blood," which Garnier uses. (True story: I read this as "Pumpkin Blood" at first and was impressed by how avant garde that sounded.)
Or the unavoidable "Brave," which closes out every Microsoft spot.
Then there are the songs from Target (bonus: Spanish language!), Fiat and Toyota spots. There were also songs performed on Glee and that aired on "90210." Two of the songs were performed by American Idol winners.
We ran the playlist through Echonest, which converts the musical information into data. On Echonest's scale of "hotttnesss" (their term for how in-vogue the tune is), Clinton's playlist came out right in the middle. The hottest song was "Roar;" the least hot, "Pumpkin Blood." The artists that ranked the lowest on familiarity: American Authors (the Lowe's ad), No No No (pumpkin blood) and -- somehow -- Jon Bon Jovi. The average tempo? A neat, two-beats a second 120 bpm. Everything finely tuned.
Again, we are reading way too much into this. But if this playlist were put in front of a panel of advertising executives, they'd likely approve.
Especially since they probably used them in their own corporate campaigns.