The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Feelin’ Blue: Playlisting the Democratic Primaries

, , , , and | Friday, February 21, 2020

Diane Park | The Observer

With primary season in full swing, our writers decided to approach politics as only Scene writers can and make a one-song playlist for each Democratic candidate. Read on for our musical takes on Bernie, Liz and all the rest.

Bernie Sanders — “Our House (The Mess We Made)” by You Me At Six

By Jim Moster, Scene Writer

“Why should we care about people we have never met?” British rock band You Me At Six asks this one question in their new single “Our House (The Mess We Made).” I don’t think You Me At Six has been good since 2008, but they do have a good answer — because “the Earth is bleeding.” 

“Our House” calls on every single person to recognize our shared crisis of climate change and commit to action. The title alludes to a saying popularized by climate activist Greta Thunberg, “Our house is on fire.” To do their own part, You Me At Six is donating all proceeds from the single to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Association. WIRES has been a frontline organization throughout the Australian bushfire crisis, a disaster considered impossible without global warming

“The leaders can’t lead,” frontman Josh Franceschi sings in frustration. But does it have to be that way? Bernie Sanders, progressive frontrunner of the Democratic candidates, has received wide acclaim from scientists and activists for his Green New Deal plan. “Our House” meshes well with a key question Sanders asks his supporters: “Are you willing to fight for that person you don’t even know, as much as you’re willing to fight for yourself?” The Sanders tent is big enough for anyone who answers “yes.” The Earth is our house, and our revolution is dedicated to putting the fires out.


Mayor Pete “Petey” Buttigieg — Ballad of Mechanical Man by Quasi 

By Mike Donovan, Scene Editor

“A machine came knocking at my door.” 

“Hello, my good man human,” he said.

 Then he unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a 4K LED screen. 

“I’ve prepared a few slides … so you can get to know me.” 

“As you can see,” he said, pointing to his bellyvision, “I went to Harvard, which means I am what you and I — humans, both of us — call smart. After Harvard, I worked at McKinsey — you know, The Firm — where I learned how to make slide decks for money. And now I speak Norwegian. Did you know I had a city once? A small one — midwestern — but everybody loved it. Everybody!  I made it good in the way that only a human who really understands humans can make human things good.”

“I could see he wouldn’t go too far / Shape of a man, soul of car.” 

He re-buttoned his shirt, but I could still see the glow of his bellyvision underneath. 

“I’d like to ask you — my good fun extra special human friend — a favor, human to human.”

“A machine will never have to feel / I know it’s fake, but I pretend it’s real.” 


“Would you give me — a human just like you — your ink stain — vote, I mean — in the upcoming Democratic primitaahh … primaaat … primary elections? I’d like one day be your overlor … underkin … president! I’ll give you health care! Only if you want it though. And the climate? I’ll fix that too! Somehow. Because I know you people need that s— fixed. And also me … I need it fixed too …  because I, like you, am a fragile little human who breathes oxygen and eats food and might possibly be susceptible to a robot overlord invasion if such a thing were to — hypothetically — occur. Soooo yeah. You vote for me. And I will invaaa … invent solutions for all your problems. Sound good?”

“Soon we’ll all be dead / It makes me feel so comfortable.”


Senator Amy Klobuchar –  “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot

By Ellie Dombrowski, Scene Writer

The nation felt the #Klomentum after Senator Amy Klobuchar’s performance in the New Hampshire debate. After the Nevada debate, however, the Klomentum is running a little Klow. Now we are all wondering “What happens next?”

Switchfoot’s “Dare You to Move” is a perfect song to encompass the “tension” of the debates with Klobuchar’s persisting self-confidence. The song starts with a greeting, just like Klobuchar’s after winning third place in New Hampshire: “Welcome to the planet / Welcome to existence / Everyone’s here… Everybody’s watching you now… I dare you to move / Like today never happened / Today never happened.”

Although not everyone is convinced that “Salvation is here” with Klobuchar, her vivacious speeches dare us “to lift [ourselves] up off the floor” and choose “Between who [we] are and who [we] could be / Between how it is and how it should be.”

So, if you’re in need of a post-midterms pick-me-up (i.e. you’ve got some iriKlocyclitis), both Amy Klobuchar and Switchfoot will alleviate your mental Kloud and absoKloutely make your week great. 


Mayor Michael “Mikey” Bloomberg — “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” by LCD Sound System

By Jake Winningham, Scene Writer

“New York, you’re perfect, oh please don’t change a thing / Your mild billionaire mayor’s now convinced he’s a king.” Democratic Primary latecomer and stop-and-frisk enthusiast Michael Bloomberg was thus memorialized in LCD Soundsystem’s ode to the city they love[d]. A power ballad for people who hate power ballads, “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” is James Murphy and co.’s tribute to the New York City destroyed by Bloomberg’s clammy fist. Like the city itself, the song is a raging, imperfect beast that picks you up and runs whether you want it to or not. Bloomberg, on the other hand, isn’t faring so well; regardless of how we feel about him, he’s definitely bringing us down. 


Senator Elizabeth “Lizzy” Warren — “Burn” by Ellie Goulding

By Dessi Gomez, Scene Writer

Senator Warren has been on a roll with her sharp, witty responses to monotonous factual observations and commentary made by moderators and journalists alike. She took this characteristic even further at Wednesday’s debate, burning everyone else. 

What better song, then, for her walkup than Ellie Goudling’s EDM anthem “Burn?” The song itself has a dynamic buildup of anticipation, with a decrescendo after the climax, which corresponds with Warren’s fiery passion and mic-drop closing remarks. Ultimately, Warren’s determination for democracy can be captured by this classy radio hit.

She grabs everyone’s attention when it is her turn to speak, and upon delivery, “[she] stops the vibe, and [she] bumps it up.” Without question, “[she’s] got that fire, (fire, fire)” “[she’s] burnin’ one hell of a somethin’” and she’s not afraid to “let it burn, burn, burn, burn.”

Oftentimes upon initial reception of Warren’s remarks, “they don’t know what they heard.” But Warren “strikes the match, plays it loud, giving love to the world.” Her philosophy could very well be: “We can light it up, up, up / So they can put it out, out, out.”

Former Vice President Joe “Joey” Biden — “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” by The Beach Boys

By Charlie Kenney, Scene Writer

Presidential candidate Joseph Biden’s stage presence, to put it lightly, isn’t what it used to be. The former political stalwart became notorious in his youth for dominating the debate stage, speaking with eloquence and articulating his words with precision. In the Democratic debates of the past year, however, he seems to stumble over his words, repeat himself and slip into arguments he cannot win. A factor in this deterioration of his skills is, no doubt, his quite considerable age. 

A proper theme song for such a decline comes in the Beach Boys’ detour into depression at the end of their record “Pet Sounds”: “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.”

The track laments feeling out of place. “I keep looking for a place to fit / Where I can speak my mind,” Brian Wilson croons as the track opens. I like to think Joe Biden feels the same way. The man was made for the politics of the 1980s, 1990s, even 2000s, but it seems he has grown out of his prime and is faltering on the debate stage as a result of such. 


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About Dessi Gomez

Contact Dessi

About Jim Moster

Contact Jim

About Ellie Dombrowski

Contact Ellie

About Mike Donovan

Mike enjoys good words.

Contact Mike

About Jake Winningham

Contact Jake

About Charlie Kenney

Charlie writes about things with words.

Contact Charlie