Monday, February 11, 2008

Soundtrack for Obama '08

In the 1979 movie Manhattan, Woody Allen's character lists Louis Armstrong's 1927 recording of Potato Head Blues (RealAudio link) as one of a dozen reasons that life is worth living. Sitting in a jazz history course more than a decade ago, I recall my professor (the inimitable and irascible late Grover Sales) remarking to us that he agreed with Allen, and that if he were forced to choose one song to serve as a soundtrack to life, it'd be Potato Head Blues.

I know it's the sentimentalist in me, but since then I've found the notion of a "soundtrack to life" to be a potent one. Occasionally I'll stumble across a particular song and discover that it captures the emotion of a particular set of experiences in my life.

Now, I haven't written about it on this blog yet, but I'm keenly excited about the Barack Obama campaign. And I'm a bit stunned by how enthusiastically Senator Obama has been received by a needy public. When I read and watch the news, I see time and again stories of people who have invested their fondest hopes in him, and I see how he's responded to the moment, treating it as a call to action.

It's in this context that I stumbled across the song below. To me, this is the soundtrack to the Obama campaign as of February. The energy, the striving, the power, the feeling of being unsettled, the momentum — it's all there. Here's hoping that these themes continue to develop and build through November and then through the next four years.

Perpetuum Mobile by Penguin Cafe Orchestra
(Yes, it is in the completely unbelievable 15/16 time signature.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Andy -

As a big fan of the Barak Obama campaign, I tout that the man is only worth 1.3 million dollars - and most of that is in his house. Most of the other candidates report having way more than their fair share of assets. Also, Barak Obama is the only candidate I know of who is taking on a tough personal project, trying to quit smoking cigarettes. I respect him for working on that. Maybe he will be able to do something good for people with the federal government.