Breaking Up with Barack: Playlists for All 5 Stages of Grief

sad barack obama

Welp, it happened. You didn’t think it would happen but it did. President Obama has completed his presidency with flying colors. Although he still has a few months before he has to turn over the keys, it’s time for Americans to realize the inevitable… We have to break up with Barack.

It’s been a good ride. We had some fun. We laughed. We cried. We even opened up and trusted ourselves to fall in love with a president again after we’d been so hurt in the past. But now the time has come. It’s not you, it’s us. We’ve decided to go a different route. We still love you, but we both knew this couldn’t be a forever thing.

Regardless of how you feel about this week’s election results, the truth is that very soon we’ll have to say goodbye to one of the most dignified, eloquent, and humble people to ever hold the presidency.

However, the real tragedy in my opinion, is that no president prior to Mr. Obama had such a grand appreciation for music. In the most recent display of his musical affinity, the President held a festival at the White House: South by South Lawn. This festival was a breeding ground for activist, artists, and change makers from all backgrounds to come together and share ideas. It also featured musical performances by emerging and lesser known artists such as: Gallant, The Dap-Kings, and The Lumineers.

During SXSL, the White House hosted a special edition of NPR’s Tiny Desk series which featured Common (an emcee known to speak on political issues) and a band of jazz and R&B musicians, including, Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, Karriem Riggins, Keyon Harrold, Elena Pinderhughes, and Bilal.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “President Obama’s Hit Playlist and Using Music to Cope with the Madness of Politics”

As if that weren’t enough, last month, President Obama hosted a BET concert called “Love and Happiness,” featuring De La Soul, Bell Biv Devoe, Jill Scott, Usher, and many more:

He states during the event’s opening address, “It’s no secret that Michelle and I love music and we try to share our passion with the rest of the country.” He then goes on to explain the history of live performances at the White House, dating back to 1801 when John Adams hosted the U.S. Marine Band at a reception. He gives a shoutout to the current U.S. Marine Bands who serve our country. And he covers the history of radical musical performances at the White House. Notable moments are President Arthur inviting the Fisk Jubilee Singers (the first all-black group to perform at the White House), President Roosevelt inviting jazz innovator Scott Joplin, and an antidote about guests of President Kennedy’s doing the twist in the East Room (which he compared to modern day twerking).

The President has also had some pretty memorable musical moments of his own. Including his infamous Al Green cover.

This led to being asked to sing “Sweet Home Chicago” by B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Buddy Guy at a White House party.

He’s even led an entire church congregation in Amazing Grace.

At this moment it’s unclear what the new President-elect will do when it comes to many issues. Most importantly will that person make playlists? Will they hold White House parties and invite stellar musicians? Will they care about music education? What will this person listen to? These questions and so many more are on Americans minds as we transition into a new relationship this winter.
So as a tribute to a man who not only served his country but also served the music community large and small we here at Soundly have complied a few playlists to help get you through the changing times. Break ups are hard. Sometimes you’re not sure it’s really even the right thing to do. One thing is for certain. We will get through it.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “5 Video Music Blogs I Use to Find My Next Favorite Band”

Is This Really Happening? (Denial)

So It’s Over… Really?! OK, I hate you! (Anger)

I Still Love You (Bargaining)

I’m Lost Without You (Depression)

OK… It’s Going to be OK… It’ll Be OK (Acceptance)

We truly hope you enjoy this playlist, and if you have any songs that are getting you through this transition time please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Part of what arts education does is it teaches people to see each other through each other’s eyes. It teaches us to respect and understand people who are not like us. That makes us better citizens and makes our democracy better. — Barack Obama 2008

P.S. Kanye West for President 2020.

President Kanye


Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability

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