Sunday, February 03, 2008

Obama's oratory = pop song?

Next time someone asks how America can elect an African American or a woman as president, ask them back how, other than voter fraud, America could put Forrest Gump into the oval office for the last two terms? In the present election season, it's a toss-up about what's more pathetic- Bill Clinton trying to destroy his wife's campaign, "real" conservatives hating on McCain, Romney failing again and again after spending millions of his own dough.

When it comes to public speaking, the only one who gets high marks nowadays is Obama- everyone else pretty much sounds like they're reading from cue cards to the forced enthusiasm from their crowds. In the primaries, he's been the one who's swept up the young-un's while Hilary's taken the older crowd.

As such, it's not much of a surprise to see that he's been props from a group of Gen XYZ musicians, including the video above, which features... "Jesse Dylan,, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon." Not that Herbie's a youngster or Kareem's a musician (Johannson's coming out with a Waits cover album though, remember?).

It's touching to see one of his best speeches turned into a song but truth be known, if you were just hearing the tune on your MP3 player or radio or in a bar, you probably wouldn't fall in love with the song itself. It's just not very good. The real point is the words, which are echoed by the musicians, and that's what they wanna convey- Obama's message of hope and unity. For that, it does work but you'd wish they could craft a real song to put across the message better. Supposedly, the Obama campaign has nothing to do with the video (it was masterminded by but you gotta admire this kind of online campaigning. As Mavis Staples said, "
Sometimes people want to hear a song, not a speech!"


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